Coming to DVD today, Tuesday, July 2:
A famed New Zealand dog trainer prepares for retirement.
When he first began to work with sheepdogs, farmer Paul Sorenson observed that it was a common practice to use harsh discipline on disobedient dogs. As he explain in filmmaker Sally Rowe’s approximately hourlong portrait, he devoted the rest of his adult life to developing a more intuitive system to working with dogs by studying canine psychology and behavior. This modest film observes his interaction with his animals, but also allows him to reflect on his life, family history and relationships, and legacy as retirement approaches. In particular, Rowe focuses on Sorenson’s mission to share his non-punitive dog training techniques with other farmers, having already been established within his field as a respected expert. Sorenson and his wife are likeable figures, and the overall message of being in tune with nature as opposed to trying to dominate it is welcome, but the film as a whole feels a bit slight to merit feature length.