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Leerburg Dog Training Blog

The best source for dog training news, tricks and treats, right from world class leaders in dog training.

The best source for dog training news, tricks and treats, right from world class leaders in dog training.

The Death of Dog Training DVDs

Over the past 9 years we have seen a definite decline in customers buying dog training DVDs in favor of purchasing online courses or streaming video-on-demand of the DVDs.  Both new mediums have their benefits over DVDs. Online courses have benefits over video-on-demand.

I believe in less than 10 years there will not be any DVDs produced or sold. There are several reasons and this article outlines why I feel we are seeing the slow death of dog training DVDs.

Let’s start by going back to the main reason people originally bought dog training videos or DVDs. It was because they didn’t have access to the instructor and they wanted to learn. That was the driving force behind VHS sales when I started in 1982 and remained when DVDs became popular in the early 2000s.  But then along came technology.

We saw the switch from VHS to DVDs happen in one year. I thought it would take a few years. I was wrong. We were hauling banks of commercial VHS duplicators to the dump within a year of converting to DVDs.

In 2007 we introduced “video-on-demand”. I mistakenly thought the switch would be as fast as what we saw with VHS to DVD. I was wrong again, for two reasons. High speed internet had not expanded enough into rural areas and customers had not yet embraced streaming video.

Customers felt there was more value in actually owning a DVD disk than owning a video-on-demand stream.

So while video streams offered instant access with no shipping charges and the ability to watch the exact same video content of a DVD on a computer, or smart phone or tablet, it still took awhile for the concept to gain popularity.

What we saw happen was people slowly learned how easy it was to review training material on a video stream (as compared to a DVD) and they saw real value in learning to use the “NOTE FEATURE” and “REWIND BUTTON” on Leerburg’s video on demand.

The NOTE allows viewers to create their own personal training outline of the information being streamed. (if you are unfamiliar with our NOTE click here to watch a short 2 Mn video that explains it).

The basic concept of the NOTE is the viewer can create as many notes within a stream as they like. When they come back to the stream week or a year later they will see their list of notes.  They can click on any NOTE and the video stream starts to play from that exact spot the Note was created.

We give free streams of a DVD when our customers buy the DVD. We do this so they learn how much better the video-on-demand is than a DVD.

The issue of being concerned about physically owning a DVD or forgetting where it was put 6 months or a year ago became a thing of the past.

Then in 2011 our Leerburg IT staff started to write our own computer program  for online training. We came out with our first course in 2015. Students and instructors both loved the training format.

It is much easier for instructors to build a course and once it is finished they can quickly and easily keep their material current 100% up to date. It takes them minutes to uploaded new video or written content.

This is compared to changing material in a DVD which is time consuming and very expensive. My experience is that 6 months after producing a DVD we learn something or remember something that we wish we had included on that DVD but we cannot economically make changes.

Our first online course was released in 2015 (our IT staff of 7 people took 4 years to write the computer code for our program)

It took us a while to realize the power of this new medium.  To start with we were no longer limited by the amount of video content that can fit on a DVD. A DVD can only hold about 3 1/2 hours of HD quality video vs an online course which is unlimited in how much content they can hold. Our Scent Detection course has 24 hours of video.

In the last 4 years we have refined the format for our courses. In the beginning the content was all video. We quickly learned that by adding detailed text to a segment explaining what the students would see in the next short video improved the learning experience.

Our first courses were “self-study” courses. This is where the instructor puts a ton of training information into the course and the student moves through material at their own speed.  The student has no direct contact with an instructor in a self-study course.

We still produce a lot of self-study courses and my guess is we always will simply because they are less expensive for the student. The main reason they are less expensive is once the instructor is finished producing the course it take no more of his or her time (unless they choose to update or add material)

In 2016 we went back to the drawing board on why people bought DVDs in the first place, which again was to have access to the instructor ’s information. We decided to enhance some of our online courses and offer them as an  “interactive-courses”.

Students in interactive courses have direct access to the instructor. They can ask questions in a forum which the instructors answers.  They are given video homework assignments where they use a smart phone to video a training session and then, by pushing two buttons on their smart phone, that video is loaded directly into the course forum for the instructor to review and comment on.  I like to say the process is “stupid-simple” and students love it.

Interactive courses also include weekly “live-chats” where the instructor has a live video round table discussion with students enrolled in the course. In real time students can ask questions, get answers and listen to other students Q&As.

Interactive course are more expensive than self-study courses simply because they take a tremendous amount of instructors time and our instructors are all professional dog trainers. Time is money.

Back in 2005 had someone told me that we could teach people how to train dogs on a computer or cell phone I would have said they were crazy.

Today I honestly believe that new students learn more from an online course than they can if they go to a 2 or 3 day seminar. The reason is simple – a week after a seminar most people can only remember about 25% of what was covered in those 2 or 3 days. With an online course students can review and review and review until their hearts content.

So now I always recommend getting a video-on-demand or an online course first. Study the heck out of the content. Then if they feel the need they can go to a seminar or one of the training schools we recommend. They end up getting far more out of the seminar or school because they are familiar with the content and they know the questions to ask that mean something to them.

For all of these reasons I really believe we won’t see new dog training DVDs been produced in 10 years.


  1. Avatar
    Kristen Johansen
    March 20, 2019

    I guess the reason why I would prefer a DVD is because sometimes “life gets in the way” and you don’t get to finish viewing the streaming delivery before your viewing period runs out. Years ago I bought an e-collar and bought access to a video on training with an e-collar but for a variety of reasons wasn’t able to view it within that time frame. I am now training a new dog and would have been interested in viewing the material if I still had access to it on a DVD to see if it is an approach I would like to incorporate.

    But on the other hand, it does seem like there can be a lot of advantages for things like offering interactive courses. That’s a neat idea and could be very effective!

  2. Ed Frawkey
    Ed Frawkey
    March 20, 2019

    Kristen – There is no viewing periods. Once you buy it you own it. When we started online courses we did have a 1 year viewing period – thats long gone.

    If you have bought any online courses please send an email to Bobbi in our iT department and mention this post – ask her if she will open the online course you bought –

    Not all online courses are offered as interactive. Thats is up to the instructor and their available time.

    I am just in the middle of doing an new course on REMOTE COLLAR FOR THE PET OWNER. I did a DVD on that back 11 years ago. This new course has a ton more information in it. It should be done in May 2019. It will be announced in our newsletters.

  3. Avatar
    Paul Therkildsen
    March 21, 2019

    Where I live broadband internet is slow and bandwidth is expensive and very limited. I buy a lot of DVDs and watch them repetitively. I’m sorry you are dumping that format. On the bright side I can spend that money on airfare to Santa Rosa. Michael Ellis is even better in person!

  4. Ed Frawley
    Ed Frawley
    March 21, 2019

    Paul – I agree with you. What you say is one of the main reasons for the strength of DVD’s . In the next 10 years I think we will see rural communities have better internet service.

    My relatives are ranchers in South Dakota. They live 50 miles from the nearest town and thats only 800 people. A few years ago their rural phone company increased their internet speeds significantly. As I understand the company got federal grants to do this.

Sorry, comments are closed.

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