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.
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
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.
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.
“Well, I read that…”, “I’m positive I’m right”, “My professor* told me…” “My research indicates that…”
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 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning–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.