So, you may have noticed that I posted a video earlier of Brèagha doing some pretty athletic and jumpy things. Things that would be potentially dangerous for someone with, say, an overweight-family-pet golden retriever or someone with a dog under 1 year of age to attempt. So what if some such person saw my video and was inspired to try it with their unfit dog? Would that be my responsibility?
I read a blog post once that stated that dog owners should not post videos of their dogs doing athletic things because it would encourage the general public to try it with their dogs. Basically, if you post a video of your dog doing a back vault, somebody is going to see it and think that it would be a great idea to try it themselves without any guidance from a professional, or without learning about warmup/cooldown or getting their dog in shape first. And that’s true, somebody might. But what I don’t understand is, how is that my problem?
First of all, there are all ready hundreds upon hundreds of videos of dogs doing crazy things on YouTube, way crazier than anything most dog sports people do with their dogs. (Have you ever seen videos of the late Jumpy the Dog? God rest his soul, but I would not ask my dog to do any of the stunts Jumpy did.) The vids are already out there people, there’s no getting around it. But if you look at these dog trick/stunt videos, none of the ones that I have seen are claiming to be instructional videos or advocating or encouraging anybody else to do these things with their dogs. If I had titled my video “Back Vault Challenge: Can Your Dog Do THIS?” That would have been irresponsible of me. But as it is, I did not claim that I am any kind of expert, or title my video in a way that would suggest that it was meant to be instructional, or encouraged others to try the tricks in the video with their own dogs. So if somebody thinks it’s a good idea to try a back vault just because they saw me do it, that’s on them. When I watch a reality TV show about people climbing Everest, I realize that it is entertainment, not an instructional series on how to climb Everest. I know that the people on the show went through all kinds of training to do what they’re doing, and I would never think that by watching the show, I would know enough to go and try to climb Everest by myself. Now, dog tricks are not nearly so difficult as climbing Everest, but just the same, I do not assume that because I saw Jumpy do a stunt, my dog can do it, and go and attempt to teach it to her without any physical conditioning and such. That’s common sense, and if someone doesn’t have that, I’ll bet that dog tricks are the least of their worries. I could have put disclaimer saying “before filming this video, I did warmup exercises with my dog, and after, we did cool down exercises. She is also very fit, and I do lots of things to keep her that way. Please don’t attempt this with your dog without guidance from a professional.” And maybe I should have. But honestly, if the proverbial owner of the overweight-family-pet-dog is dumb enough to think it’s a good idea to try the tricks with Sparky, are they going to listen to my disclaimer anyway?
I think the bottom line here is that there are and always will be people who will do stupid things to their poor dogs, with or without YouTube videos, and the responsibility for their dogs’ well-being rests squarely on their own shoulders. I cannot control what anybody else does or doesn’t do with their dogs. It would be pointless to try. So I will keep on posting videos of Bree and me doing the things we love most.