Archive for January, 2009
Michael Vick has had a busy week as he launched a lawsuit against his financial advisors seeking $2 million. Given that there have been many reports of Vick spending upwards of $900 thousand dollars in cash in the time period shortly before going to prison, there is probably no surprise in the concept that some of his financial advisors or accountants may have taken him for a bit of a ride. When a person is engaged in illegal activity (like dog fight gambling and other activities) it is all too likely that they will not have a strong focus on their other financial interests and this opens the doors for financial advisors, managers and more to take a piece of the pie.
Vick also came into the news surrounding conversations that his former coach Dan Reeves working for Mike Singletary in San Francisco might make the crazy decision of bringing Vick into the San Francisco NFL fold. On many levels, that would appear to be a non-starter as Singletary has an exemplary history of not tolerating discipline problems, nor suffering fools. Plus, the fans of San Francisco might just prove to be the most hostile crowd ever to face off against a person that ran a dog fighting ring.
Finally, PETA has withdrawn an offer to have Michael Vick on a public service announcement after they learned that Vick was trying to leverage the spot for public relations reason in order to further his goals of re-entering the NFL. We don’t regularly agree with PETA here, but we do agree with their stance
The organization said an agreement was reached with Vick’s representatives to shoot the spot, but that Vick’s lawyers sought assurance from PETA that the group would support his return to the N.F.L. “Saying sorry and getting his ball back after being caught enjoying killing dogs in hideously cruel ways for many years doesn’t cut it,” said Ingrid E. Newkirk, the president of PETA.
Especially from the perspective that returning to the NFL enables Vick to re-enter a lifestyle that promoted this problem in the first place. You might as well send a cocaine addict off to Columbia to work in the fields as a missionary.
If we work hard to look for a silver lining that has come out of the Michael Vick dog fighting scandal and related crimes, it can easily be identified as all of the dogs that were saved. Conventional wisdom before Michael Vick’s dogs were saved, held that Pitt Bulls could not be re-trained to be good and ‘safe’ pets after they had been trained to fight. In most cases where dogs were seized from property where they had been trained to fight, they were typically killed.
The dogs that were rescued from Michael Vick have in many cases been retrained and conditioned and are now living happily with real families.
Now, your average family that has a dog will not necessarily be likely to experience these extreme conditions with a pit. However, many families with pets also tend to hold to the conventional wisdom that their current pet at whatever age they may be might just be set in their ways. Just because a dog is 4 or 8 or 10 even, it doesn’t mean that they too can’t be trained.
It is often the pet owner that is preventing the training because they hold to that incorrect conventional wisdom that old dogs can’t learn new tricks, when in fact the old dog may never get a chance to learn because the owners are not giving them a chance.
In reality dogs of all ages can be trained and retrained. Regardless of whether a pup is sent for initial puppy training, or an older dog attends dog obedience school, it is possible to train and re-train that pooch!
Now, I do not write this standing on a sanctimonious pedestal. I own three dogs. One of those dogs has developed and re-enforced a very bad barking habit. For quite some time she barked incessantly for no reason. We moved a couple years back and our new home is located near water. We get a lot of wild geese and ducks coming into our yard and they tend to make a mess everywhere, getting onto our porch, decks, sidewalks, cars, and roofs.
We taught our dog to bark and keep the geese and ducks herded out of and away from these areas. The fowl have now been trained and they don’t set foot in our yard mostly.
Unfortunately for our barking dog, her mission in life is now without a purpose. So she has repurposed her training and now barks to little effect at the birds in the distance. The birds do not move and she does not stop barking.
Things are getting to the point where we need to consider some more in depth training that surpasses our own abilities, because we essentially need to reverse some general training that we instigated and also curb something that was previously a bad habit.
I came across a group that offers dog training Toronto. They also have franchises all around North America for that matter. They specialize in training dogs in their homes or yards. For our dog, it would do little good to train her not to bark in obedience school because the stimulus for her barking exists in our yard and not in a ‘school’ environment. That’s when you really need an expert to come and visit and help with the conditioning.
For many people, they might attend the quick weekend sessions at the local strip mall with a pet store located there. Those training sessions are usually more about training the pet owners and less about training the actual canine. For what we need, we need the dog to be trained and we might need some re-conditioning ourselves. Fortunately for us, and for people around the country, thanks to the tragedies surrounding Michael Vick’s dogs, the dogs that survived have helped to show people that old dogs can learn new tricks, even in the most extreme circumstances.