Dog Owner Profile: The Know-It-All Novice.

3 Jun


The Know-It-All-Novice (KIAN) knows more about dogs than you do, and they are more than happy to tell you about it.  They also happen to be woefully wrong about 97% of the time. That 3% accuracy rate is, however,  usually not a fluke.  Rather, it’s a shocking ability to regurgitate facts gleaned from internet forums, books, blogs (heh), or through lengthy arguments in Facebook groups on what they ‘actually meant’.


The KIAN, in their defense, is not a lazy dog owner. Despite their current dog (or dogs) being their first real project animals, they have pulled out all the stops. They are exceptionally dedicated to their canines. They are in a phrase, the ultimate keener. They not only take classes, they take *all* the classes. They don’t have one DVD, they have *all* the DVDs, the books, the streaming account, and the associated training package which comes with its own color-coordinated tote-bag. They have the dog, they have all the gear, they have all the effort, but sadly they have none of the common sense.

The lack of common sense is really not their fault. That comes with time and all the classes in the world can’t make up for sheer sweat and hours. What is their fault, however, is their total inability to to comprehend that they may actually be wrong. From insisting dogs are primates (Yeah, for real), to suggesting Filas to novice handlers, to believing that peanut butter and flax is the  ideal canine weight loss solution, sometimes it seems that they only arrive at these conclusions via Yahoo Answers. There really is no other explanation, and you cannot convince these KIANs of their inaccuracies. These are conclusions they must reach for themselves, or be killed after pissing off someone badly enough, whichever comes first. We’re all for knowing more about our companions but in this instance, a little bit of knowledge is a very dangerous thing.

She just wouldn’t stop talking about reinforcers.

Common Locations:  

Often seen handing out unsolicited advice to innocent passersby, internet forum users, or dog park patrons, the KIAN tends to haunt locations where they can best spout their knowledge  (or lack thereof) to what they assume is a rapt audience. The KIAN can also be found in basic or slightly more than basic obedience classes correcting the instructors while insisting that they know how to do what they are obviously struggling with… they ‘just forgot’. When not alienating others with their strangely militant ideals, they are attempting to add to their experience pouring over dog training manuals and internet forums

“Lemme Do it!”

Breeds Owned:

Unlike some of the types of dog owners we’ve profiled, the breeds owned by the KIAN are widely varied. There is no particular benchmark as to what’s owned, but usually they will insist at their dog’s superior skills at something it was only vaguely bred to do more than a century ago.

All of the dogs, none of the talent.

Skill Level:  
Low to Moderate.  The KIAN has certainly read a great deal about dogs and has the utmost confidence in their abilities as a dog handler and owner, but in all actuality, they are usually going about things all wrong or mostly right with just enough wrong to muddy the waters.  Just don’t try to tell them that.

Yeah, the wheel is spinning but I’m on a lunch break.

Catch Phrases:

“Well, I read that…”, “I’m positive I’m right”, “My professor* told me…” “My research indicates that…”

Was it this professor? Because if so we can understand.

*fictional professor

Anecdotal Evidence:


As part of my volunteer work at a local shelter, I facilitate meet-and-greets between potential adopters and our available dogs. A recent encounter with a KIAN left me wanting to bash my head in against the kennel wall.  This particular guy said that although he had never owned a dog before, he had done a lot of research and felt well-equipped to adopt.  Within about 20 seconds of the bringing the dog (an adolescent Pit Bull mix) out to meet him, the guy made it abundantly clear that he was a grade-A KIAN.  From correcting the way I was holding the leash (he was wrong) to telling me that Pit Bulls were bred as guard dogs (wrong again), pretty much everything this guy said was incorrect, and yet he was ultra-confident (see the Dunning- Kruger Effect–Kruger_effect) in his statements.  Needless to say, I was quite relieved when he decided not to adopt that day.  If he did indeed end up adopting a dog from another shelter, I am sure he spends his time correcting and talking over every other dog owner or obedience instructor he meets.


My favorite, or least favorite depending on how you look at it, KIAN currently owns his first ever dog. Not his first dog as an adult, first ever. However, he knows alll there is in the world about this dog, this dog’s breed, and all the other dogs in the universe (which are inferior to his dog, because his dog’s breed is the best). How does he know this, you ask? Has he attended multiple training classes? Does he regularly visit dog shows? Is he involved in training at all? No, but he does read a lot of blogs and really that’s just as good… right? No matter, his dog is better than yours and that was on his first try. Imagine how amazing the second one will be.



There is one of these in every other training session. Nevermind trying to instruct them, suggestions are shot down with sniper-like precision lies. They know that, tried it and it didn’t work but their current fumbling will get them through it. Mind you, when it doesn’t it becomes the instructor’s fault and words like incompetence and refund are bandied about. My personal favorite KIAN was owned by a *ick* Cockapoo and both she and her husband attended classes regularly. The husband was a great sport and really took the training to heart. He worked the dog at home and made huge progress very quickly. His KIAN wife merely coasted through making half-hearted attempts at what we suggested, a blank expression taking over her face any time any correction to her (lack of) method was suggested. She was insisting that just telling the dog that she loved him would get him to acknowledge her presence and therefore listen while also saying she has sources to back this up. She literally spent the whole hour telling the dog she loved him and patting his chest. That’s all fine and dandy, but if you are actually paying for advice, you may want to give a courtesy listen. In her last three classes she actually told instructors that they were wrong until the last when she was told that she could continue to come to classes but since she wasn’t going to listen it was an exercise in futility. My second favorite happened to be the owner of a young dog who insisted that her attempts to bite me while I was showing him the correct fit for a flat collar (!) were just her learning to wrestle other dogs. He also insisted on putting this twenty pound dog on a choke chain large enough for a mastiff and insisting that the chain should touch the ground. It was literally the most ridiculous conversation I’ve ever had with someone, including when I’ve been drunk. KIANs are a menace to society and I can only hope their sudden explosion in numbers fades away soon.

It’s forgetful juice, sadly the hangover is almost worth it.


13 Responses to “Dog Owner Profile: The Know-It-All Novice.”

  1. Jennifer June 3, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

    I think every trainer knows a handful of KIANs. I’m still just enough of a KIAN myself to still want to bash sense into these people – if for nothing more than the sake of their poor dog – but my mentor can just sit at a dog park and go “not worth it, not worth it, won’t listen, too stupid for their own good. . . Ahha! Somebody worth my time!” It’s pretty funny to watch.

  2. JT June 4, 2013 at 6:15 am #

    Last time I met one of these she tried to walk my dog around in concentric circles gripping his collar to demonstrate the ‘perfect correction’. I felt sorry for her dog as he looked perpetually dizzy. I stopped visiting the park at the time she went, needless to say.

  3. AK June 4, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    I know a few trainers that are KIANs…

  4. Lolly June 4, 2013 at 6:21 pm #

    Some KIANs grow up to be straight-up KIAs. There’s a guy at my dog park who is constantly yelling fancy commands at his dog (who ignores all of them) and said he could teach my Shiba (adult who only had conformation training before I got her, so “sit” was kind of trained out of her from puppyhood) how to sit on command in five minutes. After five minutes of trying to push her backside down while she looked at me like “WTH is this asshole doing?” he said she was untrainable and went away.

  5. Jessica Cargill June 11, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

    My favourite KIAN is the one who endlessly quotes television personalities’ training methods in your training class, in the format of “But ______ said we should do this thing instead!” (especially if their dog’s a biter)

    My second favourite is the student who looks at the trainer’s current B&T dog and declaims that they could “whip that dog into shape” if they took it home to train it.

  6. Sally Carr June 12, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    My favorite: I was walking my keeshond at a rest stop on the way to a show, and a lady (KIAN) stopped by to ask what breed of dog I was walking. I told her “Keeshond”. She said, “No, it isn’t!” I had no reply…

  7. Selma July 2, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

    Two words. Pack leader. Two more. Alpha rolls. Both are dead giveaways that you are dealing with a KIAN.

  8. TiredTrainer September 9, 2014 at 7:53 am #

    I LOVE KIANS. They put my kid through college and grad school. Their money spends just as well as that of students who actually listen and learn. If they choose to spend 5 years in the quest for a Rally Novice title, I’ll give them all the help they need. Repeatedly.

  9. darfinnan September 10, 2014 at 6:20 am #

    Reblogged this on Darfinnan Siberian Huskies and commented:
    Haha, we all know a few of these people!

  10. Ms Fuentes September 15, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

    I just met one of these today at the dog park, trying to tell me that my dog putting his head on another dog’s back (said dog was not into it) was NOT a sign of dominance because she had read all over the internet, so she knew. UGH… maybe it isn’t always, who knows? But I know it is when MY dog does it, because I know my dog.

  11. AD January 13, 2015 at 10:02 pm #

    Had a KIAN dog trainer try to tell me how to teach my dog “down” command (as in lay down). He says dog “down”: dog licks his hand. Again, he says dog “down”: dog sits. He says again dog “down”: dog finally lays down. KIAN says “see that’s how you do it!”. I was not impressed. I went on youtube and looked up more qualified trainers, followed their techniques, came into training class and KIAN dog trainer was blown away by how good my dog was! Didn’t have the heart to tell him it was because I was watching other trainers on youtube.

  12. maleedawl February 18, 2015 at 6:50 am #

    I know this person very well.
    You should do an article on the person who sees a person walking a dog
    and immediately goes over to mess with it. They never ask if they are friendly,
    they just fuck with other people’s animals and begin to tell you everything they know about that dog and what not.


  1. Dog Owner Profile: More Money Than Sense | The Dog Snobs - August 20, 2013

    […] of us are familiar with the More Money Than Sense (MMTS) owner. The MMTS is the love-child of the Know it All Novice  and the Baffled Amateur. While they may not have the answer, they know who does and his name, […]

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