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  • Call us when the sequel, Dog Training the American Female, is being promoted.

    Posted by Jonathan on March 22nd, 2018 (All posts by )

    From a publicist’s email:

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
     
    Men Behaving Badly? New Book Says Use A Shock Collar!
     
    New York, NY, March 20, 2018 – New York Times bestselling author Steve Alten’s side-splitting, chick-lit romp is a world away from the riveting thrillers that made him an internationally-recognized author (such as MEG; now a Warner Brothers movie being released in August with a great line-up of stars). Inspired by his experiences working with both male and female dog trainers, followed by a fight with his wife, Dog Training the American Male tells the uproarious story of a female relationship counselor who can’t seem to make her own relationships work until she discovers that the techniques used to train her boyfriend’s dog can also be used on him!
     
    Dog Training the American Male is a laugh-out-loud rom-com, written by Alten several years ago under the pen name L.A. Knight. The story centers on Nancy Beach, a relationship guru and radio talk show host whose relationships and ratings are in the toilet – until she discovers the dog training lessons used on her live-in boyfriend’s German shepherd actually work just as well on men.
     
    Alten says the concept for the story came to him during a heated discussion with his wife, who accused him of never listening. When his German shepherd wandered across the battlefront with her shoe in its mouth, Alten’s spouse yelled several commands at the dog who immediately dropped the shoe and went into its crate. How had the dog understood his wife’s commands while Alten always seemed to misinterpret everything his spouse said? The author realized the dog understood because it had been trained.
     
    [. . .]
     

    Ha ha ha.

     

    30 Responses to “Call us when the sequel, Dog Training the American Female, is being promoted.”

    1. JaimeRoberto Says:

      You mean “How to Dog Train Your Bitch”? Sorry for the profanity. I couldn’t resist.

    2. PenGun Says:

      I was happy to see, and very happy with the response, to Trump’s call to Putin after being explicitly told “DO NOT CONGRATULATE”. He just not taking instruction well. ;)

    3. Grurray Says:

      An essential message from Jordan Peterson that men should keep in mind. Women may love their trained dogs, but they hate their trained men.

    4. Sgt. Mom Says:

      I could swear that I saw this man-training thing as a skit on some TV variety program … I think it was on In Living Color. Mildly amusing then. Not much now.

    5. Anonymous Says:

      I have to say that I don’t think it would be a good idea to try on women either. I like my wife just like she is, unpredictable and willful. “Yes Dear, I’ll have another bite of that apple.”

      Death6

    6. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      I rather expect that Dog Training the American Male will be a best seller along the line of 50 Shades of Gray. [29 million print and 15 million digital copies]. And like 50 Shades of Gray, functionally all the sales were to women.

      They won’t be doing the Dog Training the American Female ever because that would be defined as a crime under the Left’s version of the First Amendment. Under that same Amendment, the Male version is a “side-splitting chick-lit romp”.

      And the Left and the Nomenklatura will have no idea what happened when there is a reaction.

    7. Tonestaple Says:

      Is anyone else deeply, deeply tired of “spouse”? The sentence immediately before, the writer used “wife,” so why the lame attempt at avoiding a “gendered” term? I hate what these awful people are doing to our language.

      Also, Alten and his wife need to consult a decent trainer. There’s no need for yelling at the dog, and I really hope they’re not using a shock collar. Poor doggie. It deserves better humans.

    8. Jonathan Says:

      Tonestaple, I had a similar reaction. Besides the cynical anti-male pandering, these people are promoting their simpleminded ideas about dog training as a model for interpersonal relations. Maybe, instead of giving bad advice to other people, they should find a decent trainer and hire him to help their own marriage. But of course the dog-training angle is mostly marketing spin aimed at female book buyers, and it may work. Sad!

    9. Kirk Says:

      The raw idea, in isolation, isn’t necessarily a bad one.

      I would refer the interested reader to Karen Pryor, author of the popular work on positive reinforcement and operant conditioning Don’t Shoot the Dog, along with many other treatises on training. In them, Pryor makes the point that the issue is basically one of signalling and communication, with a focus more on the trainer than the subject of said training.

      Nine times out of ten, the issue with dogs and people is not that the dog or person you’re dealing with is a recalcitrant asshole (although, that is something you will encounter…), but that you, the trainer, are not effectively communicating with them. Training, then, is something that takes place as much in the mind of the trainer as it does the subject of said training. You have to figure out how to make your signalling actually communicate what you want done.

      Don’t Shoot the Dog was actually one of the most effective little books I ever ran into, in terms of teaching me “leadership” in the military. The point was not that you were treating the troops like dogs, but that you were having to recast your mind into “Am I actually doing what I need to, in order to communicate with them…?”, and then devising means to access their actual behavior.

      Case in point–Early in my career, I was that asshole who was in the barracks every morning, yelling and booting in doors to get people going. Barracks cleanup was a continuous nightmare of having to drag people into the latrine, put mops in their hands, and brute-force solutions. What I wanted was a clean latrine and barracks; what I got was a situation where nothing got done, unless I brute-forced the troops into doing things. The more energy I put into it, the less that got done on their own initiative.

      I left that tour to go do recruiting, still with the same micro-managing, punitive negative-reinforcement mentality. While in recruiting, I did as many did, and burned the hell out on being in the Army or being an NCO. I hated that job with a passion, and when the pain ended, I had a year left to go on my contract, so it was off to Korea. At that point, I was done with the Army, and planning on returning to civilian life when my contract was over. In Korea, I had passed a point of caring, and the rest of the environment post-Desert Storm was distracting, so I didn’t have time for micro-managing things. Nor, to be quite honest, the interest or engagement. Frankly, I didn’t care about the state of the barracks, and just concentrated on getting the rest of my duty responsibilities done, the majority of which weren’t related to my little squad of Combat Engineers. In theory, I was a squad leader, but in reality, as one of the only available Staff Sergeants, I was the ash-and-trash go-to guy for picking up ammo, supplies, and all the rest of the administrivia. I was rarely even around, most mornings, to do the micro-managing thing, nor was my team leader.

      You’d have thought that the area of the barracks I and my guys were responsible for would have devolved into a nightmarish hellscape of despair and abandonment, but what actually happened was that I started getting encomiums from the bosses about the condition of things in my areas. This sort of confused me, since my baseline assumption was that if I wasn’t in there banging heads, things wouldn’t get done.

      Turns out, with some people, benign neglect and being treated like responsible adults gets you better results than not. The guys were doing the right thing on their own, which came as a surprise to me.

      It was about this time that I discovered Karen Pryor’s little book. Reading it, I experienced an epiphany: You have to look at the whole picture, with these things–What are you, the trainer, actually signalling? What are the environmental signals that the subject is picking up? Are the signals consistent, and do they actually communicate what it is you want done? Are you using primarily negative reinforcement, or are you and the environment providing positive reinforcement for the behavior you desire?

      I fell into a circumstance purely by accident in those Korean barracks where the troops were getting positive rewards for what they were doing. They were producing results that I and my bosses wanted, and I wasn’t having to do much more than drop by occasionally, praise them, find out what they needed in terms of supplies, and then provide those.

      Once I realized what was going on, I modified what I was doing, and did more to actively reward what I wanted, instead of punishing what I didn’t want. Guess what I got, in terms of behavior…?

      You want to fix nine-tenths of problems between men and women, you need to first fix “signalling” and “communication”. What you’re really talking about when you speak of “training” are things that are actually more about fixing the trainer, rather than the subject.

      And…? Well, on a very meta- scale, I can’t really find that much to object to with this. You want to train, you’ve got to become an effective trainer yourself, which is most of the damn problem in the first place–You’re not signalling what you want, or communicating effectively. Fix the trainer, and the subject of that trainer’s activities will come right along with it.

    10. Jonathan Says:

      Don’t Shoot the Dog is a classic.

    11. Kirk Says:

      It is, and it needs wider dissemination.

      Of course, you get out of it what you take to it. I’ve lent that book to a bunch of different people, over the years, and only a small minority really “got” the same things I did out of it. Behavioral shaping is what we do, as humans relating to other humans, and most of us are terrible at it. Half the damn time, we don’t even know what it is we want the other party to do, let alone how to communicate it to them. And, most of us are completely blind to this sort of thing, internal to our own lives.

      Self-awareness in these matters does not come easily. You have to actively observe what you’re doing, what the surrounding environment is doing, and how the subject of your attempts at behavioral modification is reacting to what they are taking in, in terms of cues and incentives. If you don’t look at the whole picture, and then really work at comprehending it, you’re going to suffer a lot of failures, and find yourself saying “Why the hell did they do that… I wanted them to do this…”.

      Biggest problem I see with a lot of people is that they just don’t know how the hell to persuade other people to do what they want. My damn Border Collie is a more effective trainer than most people I know–She knows precisely how to get people to throw her ball for her, and can be most charming when encountering a new small child (read: gullible mark) to throw things for her. Lots of adults I know can’t manage that simple trick, at all. It’s actually kind of disheartening to recognize that fact, when you see that the mom of said small child can’t quite get the kid to do what she wants, but that darn Border Collie has said child wrapped around her paw in about five minutes…

      There are reasons I find the idea that humans domesticated dogs a bit shy of the mark; I suspect that the dogs domesticated us to their needs, just about as thoroughly. It would be interesting to be able to ask them, on a species-to-species basis, just what the hell actually went on at the dawn of our partnership. Unfortunately, I don’t think dogs ideate things in that manner, nor do they think in abstract terms the way we do. But, they damn sure know how to modify another organism’s behaviors, because my three do it all the damn time, across the gulf of language and cognition we are on the opposite sides of.

      I’m not really offended by this training thing, to be honest–The thing I kind of find sad is that the snidely contemptuous women who are buying into this idea are doing so entirely unaware of the real issue, which is not that men are dog-like in terms of cognition, but that they are so horrible at communicating their own needs and desires across the gap of sexual dimorphism. As I said, and in accordance with Karen Pryor’s teaching, a training event is not a thing where you force another to your will, but part of an ongoing conversation, carried out in actions. If you’re doing it right, the event has as much effect on the trainer as it has on the subject…

    12. David Foster Says:

      Kirk…reminds me of something Edward Hoagland said:

      In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely try to train him to be semihuman. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog

    13. Kirk Says:

      And, the same thing should be going on between people.

      The idea of there being something negative, or insulting about training is erroneous: What is taking place is effectual communications. You’re not insulting the dog or husband/wife by framing your attempt at behavioral modification as training, you’re simply effectuating a change in behavior to make life better for both parties. Sure, some of it can take on the aspect of a parlor trick, but the thing is, unless you’re doing it with malice aforethought to be cruel and manipulative (i.e., using a training cue to induce your dog to leap off something dangerously tall, or to humiliate your husband/wife in public), all you’re really doing is practicing communication in concrete terms. Which should enable a better bond between allied partners.

      Unfortunately, the majority of us frame this sort of behavioral modification in negative terms, as something a superior does to an inferior. It really isn’t–If you’re using Karen Pryor’s behavioral modification techniques on your kids because you don’t want to be picking up after them all the time, then what’s negative about that? Is it better to yell at them, with futile results and the rise in your blood pressure, or would it be better for you to effectively modify their behavior the same way you shape the behavior of your dog…?

      The dog is actually a better model for learning these things, to tell the truth: You can’t make the mistake of thinking that because the object of your training is able to talk to you, then that your use of sweet reason and verbal communication alone are going to win the day. You have to work with the dog in order to shape the behavior, and do so in concrete terms such that the dog understands what you want, and it isn’t possible to make the mistake that you can “reason” with the dog to attain the behavior you want.

      To a degree, I think that you shouldn’t be allowed to become a parent or a leader in an organization until you’ve demonstrated mastery of these techniques of operant conditioning. You have to watch what you do as a leader, and maintain awareness of the environmental incentives you are creating and maintaining around your organization, in order to be effective. The message you send when your actions don’t maintain cohesion with your actual perceived behavior and conduct by your subordinates is going to have far more impact than you realize. You can publish all the directives you want, but if you don’t back them up by actually following them yourself, and enforcing them…? You’re not going to be very effective.

      Similarly, in personal relations…? Be the wife who constantly complains about the quality and nature of the husband’s housework, and what do you suppose you’ll get? He’ll gradually disengage from doing any of it, and you’ll just keep bitching into a void. Your behavior is a signal; keep going behind him with a heavy sigh, and changing how he’s loaded the dishwasher, and the behavior you’ll produce in him will likely be a complete cessation of doing the dishes…

    14. Mike K Says:

      Very ,little notice being taken of the fact that the collapsed Florida bridge was designed by a women engineer who boasted that women could be artistic and build bridges, too.

      The same firm (and engineer ?) built the replacement !35 bridge in Minneapolis.

    15. Kirk Says:

      Mike K, I think that’s probably another (albeit, somewhat related…) issue, entirely.

      There’s an awful lot of really questionable reasoning that goes into a lot of this “gender imbalance” crap. The activists think that these jobs are mostly male due to some “patriarchy” somehow operating in the shadows to deny opportunity to women, but the reality is that the fields lie outside the interests of most women, and forcing them into them or bullshitting them into going into them isn’t a good idea. The general bent of natural aptitudes inherent to our dimorphic natures militate against it, as anyone with a lick of practical experience in the world could tell you.

      I don’t think it’s necessarily a case of girls and young women not being exposed to things, either–Sure, some of that may be influential, but the other side of the coin is that most women do not have the necessary actual interest in these areas, and they generally don’t possess the monomania that a lot of males have in the minutiae and trivia that underlie a lot of engineering. When was the last time you ran into a little girl who spouted off the stats she’d memorized, entirely on her own, about some subject like trains or military vehicles/equipment? If you have run into one, I bet that she was unusual enough that you and everyone around her wound up staring at the poor kid like she was some kind of bizarre alien, because that’s the reaction I’ve seen every time I’ve had that experience. Little girls do that kind of thing, but it’s usually focused on people, not things.

      And, like it or not? You have to be interested in something, in order to actually be good at it. The minutiae and trivia are what these things run on, and you have to have the interest to pick up the book, and memorize it. You can’t fake the funk, and when you try…? Well, that makes for a very poor engineer.

      Shoehorning women into skill areas they’re not interested in isn’t a good idea, for either of the sexes. There are fringe cases where women have the interest and aptitudes for excellence in those skills, but when that’s maybe only a few percentage points of the population, these major programs intended to “right the gender balance” are horribly ill-conceived.

      And, too… Without knowing the details, I can’t really lay the failure of that bridge on the fact that some of the engineering and design team were women. After all, there have been plenty of mostly-male design errors in the past, so the fact that women had something to do with this one ain’t exactly a huge surprise.

    16. Anonymous Says:

      Reducing interpersonal relations to operate conditioning ignores so much of human relationships. I’m not going there as it creates exactly the kind of manipulation upon which the “science” of psychology is based. Yes, we do have an element of our behavior that is capable of being intentionally conditioned. This is a large component of early childhood development.

      Manipulative conditioning allows no room for free will. The exercise of free will is dependent on a rationality that goes far beyond external conditioning. The intellectual process of finding values and internalizing them into intentional actions seems far more than conditioning. Self-sacrificing behavior is difficult for me to understand as self-interest tied to conditioning, as are many other human decisions based on higher order values.

      I thought the points about the application of higher order leadership to effectiveness are well stated. The use of institution power based on position (squad leader for example) is an example of positional power and is often the basis for coercive power. Referent leadership power stems from the regard of subordinates and peers that a leader has earned by his behavior in such a position of power. It is earned by trust, demonstrated expertise and demonstrated regard for those being led. When the leader is motivated by his own self-interest rather than collective success which those being lead participate in and have bought into, it becomes manipulative and those being led are not fooled for long. Humans, but not dogs perceive intension.

      Here is a personal example of dog training or lack thereof. We have a six-year old female pit bull. Of our three, she is the most affectionate, obedient and protective. We got her as a seven-month old starving stray. She was very difficult to initially approach and obviously suffering from deep fear anxiety. It took us two days to persuade her to allow us to approach her. She has always had fear anxiety switch and will not respond to any verbal commands once she fully alerts. She believes TV is real and that any moving or noise-making animal depicted must be attacked. We have moved our TV’s high enough that she cannot reach them. This does not prevent her from dancing on her hind legs while doing her best imitation of a berserk attack dog until the offending creature has departed the screen. Her pack mates do not alert on TV.

      We have tried all the usual methods to discourage this behavior including redirection, rewards for not reacting (only possible for less provocative creatures), verbal warning when she begins to alert, physical exclusion imposed in the middle of arousal (I pick her up and carry her from the room into time out in another part of the house), etc. She is well aware that we disapprove of this behavior and does a great contrition act after an episode. As I grow older and she fatter, the isolation intervention is increasingly rare.

      We have found only one partially effective remedy: a shock collar. When we place it on her, her demeanor becomes much more subdued and the number of demonstrations of TV reaction greatly decreases and those that do get triggered last only momentarily, until the first or second jolt. Unfortunately once the TV is off so is the collar and generally not reused when the TV is next turned on. We’re not perfect humans.

      “I really hope they’re not using a shock collar. Poor doggie. It deserves better humans.”

      As far as I can tell, she prefers the shock collar with communion with us to isolation. I have tried referent leadership in this situation, but it has earned me great affection and routine followership, but has had no effect on food stealing or TV berserkatude.

      Death6

    17. PenGun Says:

      I had dogs most of my life. None of them had a collar, you know hippie freedom crap. My Wolfhound/Shepard cross at around 165 lbs was a monster, incredibly powerful and had to dominate all male dogs.

      He won fights real quick and never damaged anyone, outside of a tiny dog that attacked him and cut itself on his tooth. A sweetheart and I controlled him with clicking noises I made. He was almost psychic and I could get him to do what I wanted with very little effort. He ,loved horses and would play with them if he could. He would heel perfectly, come off heel and walk to the next intersection and wait. A perfect gentleman.

      It was hard to punish him as a full on shot on his head would just hurt my fist. two fingers across the nose works well and that’s what I used. Why, his party trick he loved to pull. A dog in a pickup was just heaven to him. He would run along beside it and kind of crouch a bit and the dog would lean over the side barking away. Boom, he would leap up and grab him, jerking him from the truck, and smashing him into the ground. I had to apologize to several people.

    18. David Foster Says:

      MikeK…..I found the actual proposal for the bridge construction, which includes identification of the key team members…they are all male with the exception of one woman, Linda Figg, who is designated as the ‘Visual Quality Designer and Sustainability Manager. The overall project manager, lead technical designer, etc, are all guys.

      https://facilities.fiu.edu/projects/BT_904/MCM_FIGG_Proposal_for_FIU_Pedestrian_Bridge_9-30-2015.pdf

      I didn’t see Leonor Flores, whose quote in the media inspired so much discussion, on the key personnel list at all.

      It appears that *someone*…most likely a journalist…was more concerned with a narrative than with getting the story correct.

      http://sandrarose.com/2018/03/leonor-flores-wants-know-didnt-build-miami-bridge-get/

    19. David Foster Says:

      Also, I consider the statement attributed to Flores:

      “…I think women have a different perspective. We’re able to put in an artistic touch and we’re able to build, too”

      to be rather arrogant: an implication that men are incapable of aesthetic design would seem to ignore much of the history of bridge-building, not to mention art and architecture.

    20. Kirk Says:

      @Anonymous who signs himself Death6,

      I think part of our difference in thought comes from how we are framing the term/concept “training” itself. You’re framing it as a coercive and manipulative thing, conducted within a hierarchical structure run from the top down. I see it as an ongoing conversation between the environment, the trainer (who wants to modify the behavior), and the subject. It’s not a separate “thing”–This signalling takes place every single day, in every waking conscious moment, and is a continuous process.

      Consider a domestic situation, commonly encountered: Getting the kids off to school. Posit a situation where the kids and parents are somewhat dysfunctional at this process, and prone to behavior unaligned with the goal, getting to school and work without causing mutual rage-induced fits of spastic dysfunction. How would you correct this situation?

      One approach would be to analyze the problems creating friction, and then modify the environment to reduce them. Kids forgetting their homework or backpacks…? OK, put a shelf by the door for those backpacks to be set when homework is complete, and ensure that that is done every night before bed. You could also solve another problem, that of lost shoes at the last minute, by designating another shelf strictly for shoes, and then ensuring that the shelves are properly “loaded” every night before bed.

      That’s “behavioral modification by changing the environment”. You’ve started a conversation between the trainer, the environment, and the subject. The subject will take cues from the environment that shape their behavior, solving some of your problems with that morning departure.

      Another approach would be to start out by analyzing what particular behavior you want to modify in order to make mornings easier, and you want to do so via positive reinforcement. Instead of yelling at the kids to find their shoes and put them on five minutes before you leave, you start by supervising them putting the damn things away where they belong every night, and then praising them the next morning when they immediately find their shoes and get them on in time. You may even go so far as to do a full Karen Pryor, and put these things on cue with a reward or treat. Making it damn obvious that you’re doing the same thing with them that you do with the dog may even reinforce the lesson…

      Most effective solution would likely be to take a multi-pronged approach, analyzing and then making changes to all three factors: Yourself, the environment, and the behavior of the kids in question.

      In any event, what you’ve got going here is a conversation between yourself, the home environment you create and maintain, and those damned kids. Along the way, you’re going to find that there are things the conversation is relaying to you, modifying your own behavior, in that you’re now looking at this situation dispassionately from the standpoint of making things work more smoothly, and modifying your own behavior along with it. Maybe before you weren’t necessarily enforcing the kids putting their shoes away in the same place every night, but now, in order to make your training/behavioral modification plan work, you’re doing the necessary to set the scenario for cuing the behavior you want, getting them off to school without questioning whether or not you would really rather drive them off into the river with the car doors locked…

      You set out to train, and if you’re doing it right, there’s going to be at least as much behavioral modification internal to you, the trainer. Maybe it’s just that you’re more observant of your kids, subordinates, or pets, but you’re taking part in the conversation all the same, and your behavior is being modified.

    21. MCS Says:

      The movie/book is the millionth iteration of a theme that’s probably killed more relationships than adultery. Once started, the challenge would be to stop at naming only 25 or 50 examples.

      As far as the bridge goes, I expect that the first half competent engineer that got close knew what went wrong ten minutes after arriving on site. That won’t stop the “investigation” from consuming the next year before announcing conclusions. My bet is that the post-tensioning failed. The giveaway is the cracks that appeared. The reinforcing cables are supposed to be under enough tension that the concrete in the lower “flange” is always in compression. Any cracking indicates that something is very wrong. It sounds like they were trying to re-tension cables which triggered a progressive failure and the collapse. It goes without saying that once cracking was noticed that traffic should have been diverted.

      In case anyone failed to realize it, the cable stays were strictly for show. If they could hang the span without them, they could have more easily designed a simple beam without them, especially for a pedestrian bridge. I guess a city hasn’t arrived unless they have at least one cable stayed bridge, even if the bridge is holding up the stays instead of the reverse.

    22. Kirk Says:

      @MCS,

      I think a bigger part of the problem is the question of just what the hell they thought they were doing by doing any kind of adjustment/testing to the bridges tensioning system while it had traffic running under it. That’s such an egregious violation of common sense safety rules that I’m stunned they were doing it.

      You do any kind of work with post- or pre-tensioned concrete, and the one thing you learn through experience is that when you start munging around with those things, stuff happens. In a house slab, it’s no big deal–A bridge carrying or over traffic? What. The. F**k.

      I am not a card-carrying engineer, yet… But that is something that would have had me raising my little hand in a meeting and going “Uh… Guys…? Is this really, y’know… Wise?”.

    23. Bill Brandt Says:

      @David Foster – reminds me of what somleone said about our canine friends years ago.

      “A dog is the only animal that adapts to your world but at the same time lets you glimpse into the animal world”

    24. David Foster Says:

      Re dog-training and human-training….if humans expected dogs to be like them. and dogs expected humans to be like another dog. the relationship would be pretty frustrating….After all, a human makes a pretty poor dog: highly inferior nose, typically can’t run nearly as fast, no fur for cold weather…altogether a poor substitute for a real canine!

      It strikes me that, in a slightly similar way, the insistence that men and women are *exactly* the same (except in physically undeniable ways) has contributed significantly to what appears to be a wide-ranging breakdown in the relationship between the sexes.

    25. Kirk Says:

      @David Foster,

      Ah, but the human has hands, and can throw things…

      From my reading in the area, coupled with practical experience, this ain’t exactly an insignificant feature of man, for dogs. I strongly suspect that one reason Homo Sap. thrived while Neanderthal didn’t had to do with the lack of dogs associated with Neanderthal sites, which suggests that the proto-dog didn’t like to hang around with them. Couple that with the apparent lack of talent/interest/ability for Neanderthal man to throw things, and you start to wonder if maybe what made the difference was that Homo Sap. could become a partner in playing fetch…

      Dogs molded man almost as much as man molded dogs; they were the first domesticated animal, likely paving the way for the rest, and I suspect they gave us the spark of empathy for other species that’s served us so well. I suspect that they’re a significant part of why we are who we are, and probably will be with us for a long time to come.

      At least, I hope so.

    26. Anonymous Says:

      Kirk,
      I would add one point to your explanation of the interaction between the trainer, subject and environment. It is uniquely human to be both the trainer and the subject of the training. We can decide we need to change, develop or improve and train ourselves to do so. We can also, and usually must, participate in our own training/development for it to be internalized as a core value rather than just a response to a temporary set of constrains. This level of participation requires an act of the will.

      Death6

    27. PenGun Says:

      “Ah, but the human has hands, and can throw things…”

      My big ol’ dog, described above, had no hands, but could throw a 100 lb dog maybe 10′ – 12′. ;)

    28. OBloodyHell Says:

      Chevy already did this as a commercial, a decade or more ago:

      Nice springish day, a couple, sitting on their porch, reading the paper, post brunch…
      A car (a chevy) drives by. The guy glances up, watching it pass. Back to reading papers…
      Another car, a high-end chevy sedan goes by, he watches it more obviously… Goes back to reading…
      A Corvette drives by… He breaks into a run, chasing after it… Gets to the middle of the yard, gets yanked short as he reaches the end of the chain. “Yark!”.

      She shakes her head, not even looking up from her paper, “He never learns…”

      Yeah, imagine the caterwauling if you did the same commercial with a guy and a girl going through a mall encountering clothes, chocolates, and jewelry…

      The number of female chauvinist pigs out there needing to get bitch-slapped is legion.

      You can often identify them by asking them if feminine hygiene products should be free…

    29. OBloodyHell Says:

      Her (shouting): YOU PROBABLY HAVEN’T HEARD A SINGLE THING I’VE SAID!!!

      Him: Well, that’s a pretty strange way to start a conversation…

      :-D

    30. OBloodyHell Says:

      Kirk: it comes easy to some, poorly to others. It’s an advanced mode of thought, a meta level or thinking, not just thinking, but thinking about how and what you are thinking, along with the same in others. I am put in mind of Camus’ definition of “intellectual”: ‘Someone whose mind watches itself’. Intellectuals certainly fall into those capable of this, but a significant percentage of ‘intellectuals’ are also liberal idiots incapable of learning from experience (Side note: I argue this is a major defining quality of liberals: the inability to learn from experience. They may be high-IQ geniuses, but they don’t haveva lick of *wisdom*, things they learned from experience.)

      So someone needs to be an intellectual AND not a liberal, for the most part, to fit into this classification.