I've always wondered in the episode How to Dial a Murder how long it would take to reprogram the dogs. It seems that the lieutenant solves the case certainly within one week. Is that enough time to reprogram dogs?
As a side note try to program "Dog" You would not come out too good with that one
Since you mentioned Laurel and Hardy, there's always been something about the retraining of the dogs that has bothered me.
We the viewers, like Eric Mason himself, don't know that Columbo has had the dogs reprogrammed. The production takes advantage of this by having the dogs continue to growl as if they're going to attack Columbo when Mason gives the trigger word. They don't just growl, they snarl, showing their teeth and they bark. They shouldn't have done that at all. The only reason they do is to frighten (and fool) the viewer.
Upon hearing the trigger word, the dogs should have started wagging their tales and crying sighs of love! Because the trigger word now makes them want to jump on Columbo and shower him with kisses. That's exactly what they do when they push him over onto the pool table and jump up there with him.
So that's a false fake-out on the part of the production. And that's bothered me for a long, long time.