Olympics; Puppy

There is not a lot to say about the news these days. There is the Repuclican National Convention going on in New York City, the 2004 Olympics going on in Athens, of which the American public can watch about 10% of, and that is only when there is an American competitor actually fares well in said event. While it would be nice to actually watch the competition in the Olympic games, it loses something in the chopped up, American highlight type shit that you get to watch here in the states. Considering that none of the events play live on our National Networks, I would rather just not watch it at all.

A friend told me, recently, that they have live streaming video coming from the Olympic games. I am not sure if that is true or not, what I am sure of is that I am crutched by a 56k internet connection and not likely to watch every fifth frame of a video while still considering it “live”. Isn’t that supposed to be some of the glory of the Olympics? You see the people (from any random country) who perform their chosen sport the best? Our media, in the U.S.A., obscures that by only showing events where the U.S.A. athletes perform well, then they fill the time by telling stories of the “hard up-bringing” that the athletes had to overcome to achieve their Olympic dreams. Sure, that does make for a great movie, but what I want to see is the competition.

If the American gymnast totally fucks up, breaks a leg or something, I want to see, at the very least, the medal winners’ performances. This (the Olympic games) is the only venue where people from all countries can compete against each other on an equal footing. Yet, once the U.S.A. is out of the running, the media just seems to shift to a personal story of tragedy that left that particular person without a Mother and Father, which, in turn, made him/her want to compete in the Olympics. I swear that the media is using some formula similar to this…

Yet, my bitch today is not even related to the Olympics. More related to something that I noticed, and tested a few times, regarding computer opponents in actual games.

It is Tuesday, August 31, 2004

I was stopped just as I started yesterday’s bitching, by a puppy (well, full-grown dog that is smaller than the average full-grown dog of it’s breed). That would be our puppy Zelda, who was so angered/whiny when big brother dog went for a walk with mom that I finally just caved in and followed behind them. I originally had hopes of catching up to them before we reached the park, but there was an issue with the fact that Zelda was so excited and jumpy that it was difficult to get the harness on to her.

If you are not a dog owner, especially the owner of rather large dogs, you really need to know about the harness before you do get a dog. The normal way that idiots (most dog owners) walk their large dogs is to use a ‘choke chain’ (I linked there to an article about the disabilities that such collars could cause for a good reason). A ‘Choke Chain’ could be used to great effect by an experienced dog trainer, yet the device is regulary used by any jack-ass who has a dog.

There actually are ways to train a dog on your own, ways that do not involve asphyxiation and broken necks. The easiest way is through positive reinforcement, you know a simple little treat you give the puppy when it does the vocal command. It is not an exact science, nor is it immediate, but it does teach the dog that rewards will be given for performing certain tasks. As time goes on the rewards get smaller, no longer a chewy treat, just a little tummy rub or the such, but the dog will still respond to the vocal command and perform the task.

The unfortunate thing is that any person, who can show a photo ID, can get a pet. That is if they try to get them from a rescue shelter, there aren’t any laws governing who can take a puppy or kitten that they find three houses over. While cats come out of the womb pretty much ‘litter box broken’, it takes some time for a puppy to realize that it is supposed to do the majority of its bathroom duties outside. The little puppy might not understand that you left the pile of Newspapers in the corner so that he would ‘do his business’ on it, but if you show the dog the place that he did pee, then put him on the newspapers, he/she will soon learn that the papers are there for their peeing purposes. After a bit of time, say two weeks if you have a puppy that was just weaned, those papers will get so close to the door that the only time there will be pee anywhere but on the papers is when the dog gets a bit too excited.

Once the dog is ‘house-broken’, a process which could take between a couple of weeks and a couple of years, depending on your level of interaction with him/her, the rest is easy. There is no need for a ‘Choke Chain’, all you need is “Mr. Newspaper”. At least 80-90% of the time, you never have to swing ‘Mr. Newspaper’, you just have to roll it up and look at the puppy. Sure fear tactics are bad and everything, but would you rather all but kill your new puppy with a choke chain, or have it fear a rolled up newspaper?

My/Our dogs are far from perfect, Warlock will chase anything that makes a reflection, while Zelda will bark at any other dog that gets near Warlock. We try to teach them using the command/treat method, and while neither one of them is perfect about following the commands, and neither one would be trusted in a room alone with a child, they are pretty obedient dogs. There has NEVER been a ‘Choke Chain’ on either of these dogs (well, once when Warlock was young, but it lasted only a day or two). We do love our dogs, hell, they are basically our children, there is no way that I would try to strangle a human, why would I do it to a canine?

We (my wife and I) are doing this with larger breed dogs. Warlock has to weigh 60 pounds or so, while Zelda is a very fierce 35 or so pounds. I think that absolute obedience might be impossible, at the very least it is only possible through an obedience school that knows how to correctly use a ‘Choke Chain’. We are not going to be using the ‘Choke Chain’ though, since they have these Harnesses that you can buy pretty cheap.

You just have to remember that you do outweigh the dog by at least a hundred pounds. You certainly don’t have to choke the dog to get obedience, and if you do you don’t deserve to have a pet…Or a child, for that matter.

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