The Incredible Dr. Pol on What Every Owner Can Learn from Westminster: 'All Dogs Are Trainable'
Dr. Jan Pol, the titular star of Nat Geo WILD’s hit reality series The Incredible Dr. Pol, has been a practicing veterinarian for decades, serving all sorts of animals across rural Michigan, and on TV for 16 seasons, but even he still experiences an occasional animal first.
This weekend, Dr. Pol attended his first Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, taking in the agility and obedience competitions and initial breed judging rounds that kick off the show each year.
“It was fantastic,” the veterinarian said of the experience.
What really struck Dr. Pol was the “unbelievable” bond between human and dog that he saw during his time at the show.
“The people with their dogs were completely in tune,” he said, adding that watching canine and owner work together during the agility competition was especially impressive.
And while transforming your pet dog into a show dog may seem like an impossible feat for some, Dr. Pol still thinks there is something every dog owner can learn from the Westminster Dog Show.
“Every dog is trainable,” Dr. Pol said this is the lesson he is taking away from the show and hopes other Westminster viewers will do the same.
Dr. Pol doesn’t expect every dog owner to turn their pet into a perfectly primped pooch, instead he wants pet parents to watch the show and work to form a bond with their pooches that is similar to the bonds Westminster handlers have with their dogs.
“Work with them. Don’t just feed them and pet them occasionally,” Dr Pol. advised. “Make them listen. Find what makes your dog love performing and work on that bond.”
It is also important to make sure you are prepared for the pet you welcome into your life, Dr. Pol added, and seeing all the different breeds at Westminster might help prospective pet owners know what to expect.
“These little great Dane puppies are so nice, but they grow up to be 150-pound dogs,” the veterinarian offered as an example.
Preparing your family and home for a pet, and then continually working to bond with that pet once they arrive, will immediately deliver positive experiences, according to Dr. Pol.
For example, Dr. Pol’s granddaughter Abigail, who was born to Dr. Pol’s son and costar Charles Pol in October, is already “part of the pack” at home thanks to the work her parents have done to prepare their great Danes for the arrival of the baby, and the bond the family already has with the dogs.
“The younger dog Atlas, will walk into her nursery and check in on her. It is so unbelievable.” Dr. Pol said
“And when the dogs walk into the room, Abigail will start laughing,” the vet added. “She is just four months old and there is already a bond between human and animal.”
The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will air live on FS1 on Tuesday Feb. 11, starting at 7 p.m. EST
Tune in to new episodes of The Incredible Dr. Pol on Saturday nights at 9/8c on Nat Geo WILD