Calling Dr. Google And Other Experts

Sep 4, 2016 | Animal Behavior, Pet Guardians, Training

Dr. Google

I recently saw these words on a coffee mug: Please Do Not Confuse Your Google Search With My Medical Degree! And yes, these mugs can be customized for any profession, so I mused at how often I’ve been tempted to use those words when I hear the familiar “Well I looked on the internet about “dog behavior”, and this is what I found…”

While we’re fortunate to have information at out fingertips, it just perplexes me that someone might blindly follow advice from a “Dr. Google” with questionable credentials, if any. But this doesn’t always stop people from soliciting important information from the internet, their neighbor, the clerk at the pet shop, or a certain trainer character on TV.. Last week I was standing in line at the grocery store, when the woman in front of me was asking the cashier if the product she was about to purchase would work for a toothache. When the cashier said that she never used the product, the customer, turned to me to ask what I thought. I mentioned that going to a dentist would be a good start…but I digress. I use this example because it seems prevalent in our society to trust opinions from a variety of sources, except the source they need to consult.

Once in a while I get a cluster of queries that make me wonder if there’s something in the water that’s been eliciting these interesting comments and questions. The following are a few phone calls that I have received over the years, and the answers that popped into my head at that moment, but didn’t say of course:

Hi, my old dog, bit the neighbor when he hugged her. My neighbor is an experienced dog expert, so now I’m wondering if this senior dog can be trained to behave?

No, but a few more bites from your dog, and I’ll bet your neighbor learns to behave.

I’m looking for someone to train my dog to be a service dog. I’ve been working with a shock-collar specialist, but he said that the dog is still too anxious to be a calm service dog. What can you do with a dog like this?

Maybe pull the plug on the electricity for starters.

I’ve been watching a trainer on TV, who said that barking is a sign of dominance. My dog also displays this behavior. She barks at squirrels in the yard; sometimes sits on the picnic table and won’t get off of it when we call her. How can we stop her defiance?

Get a stuffed animal; they’re quiet and easily removed from any place where they’re sitting.

My good friend has a dog that is not good with people, but she heard that dogs and kids are supposed to get along according to the many YouTube videos that she’s watched. Last week the dog snapped when the toddler grabbed the dog’s tail, so she’s wondering if you might know of a good home for the dog because this situation isn’t working out.

No, but if you teach the toddler to respect the dog, you might find it works out after all.

I’ve decided to get my own mug engraved: Pardon my snark, but your “Google search” is confusing to my sensibilities!