|Sled dogging with Barry.|
Today two people sent me the same article about Barack Obama, his dog Bo, and Cesar Millan, but after reading it, I am not sure what the author was trying to say, or why.
Apparently some guy named Steve Dale thinks Millan is "full of crap."
Someone is throwing rocks to get attention for himself.
Pathetic, but as common as ditch water. This is how wannabe dog trainers get their air time now.
What's funny here is that Steve Dale does not appear to be a competent enough writer to start the fire, much less sustain it.
I read the piece slowly, trying to sort through the fractured sentence structure, and then I noticed that Dale never actually quotes Cesar Millan at all.
Hmmmmm.... This was from a TV interview?
Who needs to actually look anything up, and put hard quote marks around it, when you can play kick the can? Got it.
No matter. The sad part is that this article misses the real story, even if Cesar Millan does not.
You see, Barack Obama is not the first occupant of the White House to have too little control over his dogs
So too did Bush II, Bill Clinton, Bush I, Ronald Reagan, and Richard Nixon.
I know a little about such things, as I have written about dogs at the White House before, and yes there have been quite a lot of terriers.
So how come no President in modern memory has ever had much control over his dogs?
Answer: No one at the White House has time for a dog.
That is the core problem.
In fact, no one at the White House has time to even read a book on dog training, much less follow up with reinforcement over a sustained three-month period.
Walk the dog?
That's a task generally delegated to a rotating pool of young, low-level interns, volunteers, or kind-hearted staffers with little or no dog training. The President, First Lady and First Kids have a jaw-dropping number of appearances to make, all over the nation and all over the world.
All the Presidents and all their families have meant well, but something has to give, and it's always the dog.
Of course, an "inconvenient dog" is a pretty big problem all over, isn't it?
As I recently wrote in Dogs Today:
[M]ost people do not live lives very well-suited to dogs. Unlike a bicycle or a shotgun, a dog cannot be tucked into a storage closet, and forgotten. A dog requires attention several times a day, every day, rain or shine, vacation or not. Is your life really that stable? Is anyone’s these days?
.... If your living arrangements are unstable, skip a dog entirely and get a cat -- they won't mind long periods alone, and are much cheaper to care for.
I think that's a message that needs to be said more often!
Of course this is not the first time I have written about the need to "unsell" dog ownership.
As I noted on this blog back in March of 2008:
To admit to all the liabilities of dog ownership is not to value them less. I love my dogs and spend a lot of time and money on them, but dogs have never been a surprise to me or anything less than a responsibility and a burden that I have cheerfully accepted on myself.
Dogs are not for everyone, and they are not a relationship anyone should enter into lightly. The more we dog owners tell that story often -- and loudly -- to new and prospective dog owners, the fewer dogs we will see in shelters. If pound pups are a disease, the remedy is a talking cure.
And guess what? To some extent, that's a talk that Cesar Millan gives his viewers every show.
"Exercise," he preaches. You need to walk that dog for 30 to 45 minutes twice a day, every day.
Oh, and by the way, when you walk that day, shorten up on the leash.
You are supposed to be walking the dog; the dog is not supposed to be walking you.
And yes, that really is Dog Training 101.
Apparently, however, its still news to some.
My recommendation for Mr. Dale: Get a copy of Cesar Millan's new book, Cesar's Rules.
There he can read Martin Deeley's excellent advice on training a dog to walk on leash, or read Ian Dunbar's good advice on walking a dog off-lead. And he can read a few tips from Cesar too.... not that he is as gifted a dog man as Steve Dale, of course. How could he be?
Steve Dale takes the cake.