Perhaps the greatest asset of P5, besides the training expertise of course, is the app’s videos. I can read how to do something with my dog 10 times, and still manage to mess it up. But when I can actually see someone else do it, I can easily mimic the action.
No matter what activity you choose to pursue, you’ll find helpful videos in the P5 app.
Right from the “Getting Started” intro video, I knew I would like the P5 approach because it stresses what motivates your dog, rather than what activity you, as the owner, might want to do. Although our dogs must do certain things, such as respond to the Come command, when it comes to exercising their bodies and minds, I like the idea of picking an activity that my dog will enjoy. And, of course, when we choose something that uses our particular dog’s innate drive, it’s much more likely he – and we – will be successful at it.
The various activities are broken down into basic steps with a video for each. For example, not only is agility divided into A-frame, jumps, pause table, tunnel and weave poles, but the jumps lesson is further demonstrated via arcing, the action a dog’s body must take to successfully jump; running jump, as in running toward the jump, then clearing it; the jump chute, taking several jumps in a row, first straight then in a more complicated configuration; and competition level, which involves jumps in a variety of positions, requiring the dog to make a spectrum of turns.
After each video, a short summary of text appears in the window so you have further reinforcement of what’s been covered. The starting point for each training video is accompanied by photos of some key elements with descriptions. So, instructionally, the app hits pretty much every style of learning: visual, auditory and reading.
The running videos are great because way too many people get a puppy and think they can just take it running with them. While P5 doesn’t mention puppies, per se, it does use its first video to describe “Important Reminders.” This includes checking with your dog’s veterinarian before embarking on a running program. I assume any vet would warn a puppy owner about running long distances with dogs whose bones aren’t yet fully formed. The interval training seems like a great way to get your dog ready for your own running program. For the first week, you and your dog run only one minute at a time, then walk for a minute, eventually building up to a much more substantial run.
I tried out P5 on an iPad. In going from the app window to the videos themselves, I had to turn the iPad back and forth as the app apparently has no “landscape” ability. If I were actually watching a single video, then working with my dog, it wouldn’t be a big issue. But if you want to go through and watch all the videos on a particular activity before deciding, it’s a bit of a pain. In addition, a “P5 Runners’ Program” was mentioned in one of the running videos I watched, as well as in the text. It was not, however, a live link to a description of the program, and I never could find it anywhere in the app, nor in the FAQs or Advice and Links section. I’m still wondering where it is… One other thing I’d like to see in the app is more opportunities to go “back.” We’re all so attuned to using the Internet now that we expect to be able to go back from any window. P5 only offers that option for certain functions.
Despite these minor shortcomings, I’m positive that a great number of dog owners who have wanted to “do something” with their dogs will find motivation in P5. You don’t have to locate a training school, sign up for a class or make any big commitment to check out a number of dog sports and activities, choose one, then teach your dog the basics.
And, especially because the app is free, there’s no downside to trying it out. I suspect users have already found lots of upsides and will continue as the app becomes more popular.