Stuff I Like: “Dogs 101”

A blog provides a forum for expounding on what is wrong with the world but it also gives me an opportunity to share information about a really great find ““ whether it’s a product, TV show, or service, or place.

So with that in mind, I’m going to occasionally write about “Stuff I Like.” It’s those things you happen upon that you find yourself thinking about later, or that you mention to your spouse or friend. “You know, that was a really great”¦” fill in the blank.

Here’s my first entry in the “Stuff I Like” category:

We really enjoy a show on Animal Planet called “Dogs 101.” As the name implies, it’s a primer on the basics of dog breeds. Every hour-long show covers five breeds and briefly describes the characteristics of each regarding grooming, exercise, health issues, trainability, and temperament.

For example in the segment on German shepherds, they summed up the breed in these ways: “Grooming ““ they shed heavily and you’ll find clumps of hair everywhere. They have good adaptability to living in smaller areas, they are loyal family dogs but are protective. They are generally healthy but they are notorious for hip problems. They like to please and are easy to train.”

As the owner of a German shepherd, I think they did a great job of giving concise yet accurate information about the breed. Our dog sheds a pound of hair a week, has a bad elbow and hips, has been overprotective of our kids”¦there was that incident with the UPS driver”¦but overall, she is a great family pet.

We appreciate the straight-forward approach to the show. The goal of the show is more about education and helping people make informed decisions about what type of dog would be a good fit than entertaining us with stupid pet tricks. There are brief interviews with veterinarians and dog trainers but these people aren’t included because they are celebrities or have clever comments; but instead are there to give us more information about a particular breed.

And even if you already know everything you ever wanted to know about dog breeds, there’s one reason to watch the show that has universal appeal: it has lots of video footage of romping puppies!

“Dogs 101″ doesn’t seem to have a regular slot on Animal Planet so unfortunately, I can’t tell you when it will be on next. I’ll keep on the lookout for it.

And for those of us who also love cats, Animal Planet has shown one episode of Cats 101 but I don’t think it will have nine lives. Cat breeds just don’t have the same dramatic differences that are found in dog breeds.

Here’s what one episode of “Cats 101″ and every episode thereafter could teach us: “Trainability: forget it. Health concerns: some cats are healthy, some aren’t. Temperament: some cats like people, some don’t. Shedding: Count on it.”

I think you get my drift.

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