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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
    Linda Fietz
    March 29, 2019

    In our rural area high speed internet is unavailable, even cell service is very spotty and unavailable at our home. It is even frustrating to watch the short free videos you offer because of the starting and stopping we have to put up in our area. I love where we live, but high tech doesn’t know where we are. Thank you for the recent DVD’s I purchased, I am learning a lot.

  2. Ed Frawkey
    Ed Frawkey
    March 30, 2019

    You have a very good point. My gut feel is that within the next 10 years there will be technology that allows rural areas to have high speed internet. My cousins ranch in South Dakota is 50 miles from town (which is only 800 people) and they have high speed internet – not super super fast but fast enough to stream video. This happened because their local small phone company got grands that allow their rural customers to have DSL.

    All we can do is hope. Thanks for your feed back.

  3. Avatar
    April 3, 2019

    Similar to the Fietz comment – I take DVDs with me when glamping. Currently, campgrounds prohibit streaming and using my hotspot is not feasible if there is no cell service at the more remote areas. But I imagine all that will change quickly enough as the younger people demand it.

  4. Avatar
    David Thomas
    April 24, 2019

    Most new computers don’t even come with DVD players now. I just purchased a computer case from NVIDIA, a major supply company because I am building a computer for my video editing. They don’t provide an area in their cases for DVD drives. When I asked the customer service reps why they said “few people use them”.

Sorry, comments are closed.

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