Every species, I guess, has its geniuses and morons, or at least those who are so perceived.
When it comes to dogs, for example, Afghan hounds have been called the dumb blondes of the dog world, while border collies are often referred to as the genius of the species.
With humans, in what is an equally unfair characterization, TV and radio personalities are often portrayed as something less than razor sharp. (I’m not sure if that is true, but it does seem that the dumber they are, the louder they are — and the more they interrupt.)
This video, from ABC’s Good Morning America, shows a border collie named Zelda balancing things on her head as the humans on the program, some of them wearing funny hats, seem to compete to see who can be loudest and most annoying.
When Zelda’s owner tries to explain how Zelda came to possess the talent, the host of the show loudly interrupts: “Now we should point out border collies are one of the smartest dogs there are, I mean they’re like real smart.”
At the end of the bit, the camera cuts to a member of the crew, showing he can balance things on his head, too.
Watching this, online, made me reconsider my rankings of the intelligence of the three smartest species here on earth.
I still think dogs are at the top, but I’m unsure of the order in which to rank the other two – humans and computers, earth’s newest species.
But then I read the computer-created transcript of the video, which we’ll only quote in part:
“We have a very special live — we have Zelda. That dog. — commences our — an extra…
“Added I organ committee is all right let’s say you — yes sickened at companies like name. Set — – we Michigan do with the tenth spot didn’t she loves playing with a tennis ball — her favorite thing today — So we — – with a few other thing we should point out that Border — is part of the one of the smartest dogs is very nice seeing real — things — very fast…
“Well we have posted a picture of her balancing my dinner plates you can do that we’ll try now in the — Valentine’s tiny things had a glass of chocolate — yeah…
“We want to hear from you what should Zelda try to balance — and can really the united choices football — – banana frisbee or I’m actually getting other. Okay we’ll take right and we’ll take righted work out things with.”
At the end of the transcript, there’s a disclaimer saying it has been automatically generated and may not be 100 percent accurate.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 19th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, balance, balancing, border collie, computers, dog, dogs, good morning america, head, hosts, intelligence, media, news, personalities, pets, television, things, transcription, transcripts, tricks, video, zelda
I’m not sure this Saturday Night Live sketch is worth the 30-second ad you’re required to watch first, but it has its moments.
All in all, though, it makes me long for the good old days, both when it comes to SNL and when it comes to cooking shows.
Once they were soothing things to watch — one person preparing a dish — so simple, so relaxing, so sleep-inducing. Now they’re mostly cut-throat competitions in which multiple chefs feverishly vie to make the most judge-pleasing concoction. Those who fail get axed, or chopped, or otherwise sent home.
And that may be the unkindest cut of all.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 21st, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, axed, behavior, chopped, comedy, competitions, cooking shows, cut, dan akroyd, dogs, julia child, media, pets, saturday night live, sketch, snl, society, television, top check, top dog chef, video
Tragedy struck the tragedy that is “Teen Mom 2″ when Chelsea Houska’s French bulldog — left outside unsupervised — was attacked and killed by a neighbor’s Siberian husky.
Houska, one of several single teen mom’s featured on the MTV reality show, had let both of her dogs outside as she rushed to get ready to go take her GED test.
Only one came back.
When she went to look for Frankie, she saw her being attacked by the husky next door.
“It was like the worst thing I’ve ever seen,” she tells her father later. When she called police, she says, she was told they couldn’t do anything and that “if your dog was on a leash she’d still be alive.”
As Houska recounts to her father what happened, her daughter, Aubree, says, ”Mommy’s crying.”
“Yeah, she misses Frankie”
“Where’d Frankie go?”
“He went away for a little while,” says Houska’s dad.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 16th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: attacked, chelsea houska, dogs, frankie, french bulldog, killed, mothers, mtv, neighbor, reality, reality shows, show, siberian husky, single, teen mom, teen mom 2, television, tv
Poor Courteney Cox.
The former “Friends” star and her daughter Coco recently moved into a new 25th floor condo with their two dogs — and taking Hopper and Harley all the way down to the ground floor and outside to go to the bathroom late at night was just too difficult.
That, at least, is what she said to Ellen DeGeneres in an interview that aired yesterday.
“I’m like, ‘How am I going to work this out? I could walk them at 10 p.m. at night but what if they have to go in the middle of the night?’” she said.
Apparently, solutions such as hiring a dog walker, or living somewhere with a yard, didn’t occur to the “Cougar Town” star.
Once the patch was in place, the dogs showed little interest in it, she said. “… Hopper and Harley would not go. I tried and I tried and it’s getting late and I can’t leave Coco in the condo by herself while I take them out so I just thought, ‘To hell with it. I’ll mark the grass.’”
Apparently, the idea of peeing in a jar, and then going out to pour it on the balcony patch, didn’t occur to her, either. Cox told DeGeneres she squatted on the balcony.
Given the product she’s using requires a new grass pad weekly, she told Ellen she’s worried she might have to keep reannointing them. “I didn’t think it through… but I will say Hopper peed on my pee.”
We have faith that Hopper and Harley, age 9 and 10, will be able to think it through, even without Cox marking every new patch, and — whether it’s 10 p.m. at night, or 6 a.m. in the morning — adjust to using the balcony potty.
(Photos: Screen grabs from Ellen DeGeneres show)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 8th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, artificial, balcony, cavalier king charles spaniels, celebrities, condo, condominium, cougar town, courteney cox, courtney cox, dogs, ellen degeneres, friends, grass, harley, hopper, pad, patch, pets, pooch potty, potty, star, television, urine, waste
With continuing criticism of his methods, a suicide attempt in his not-too-distant past, and his reign as TV’s “Dog Whisperer” having ended, you might think Cesar Millan’s eight years of snowballing fame was starting to head in the other direction.
Probably, you’d be wrong.
Just two months after the “The Dog Whisperer” concluded its run – and two years after the death of his favorite dog, divorcing his wife, and dealing with a deep depression — a new show, a new wife and a new book (his seventh) are all on the horizon.
On top of that, he’ll be the subject of a documentary. In ”Cesar Millan: The Real Story,” airing Nov. 25 on Nat Geo Wild, he talks publicly for the first time about the overdose that almost took his life, according to the Associated Press
“It’s rare when someone with his level of celebrity is willing to completely open up and share the struggle and hardship it took to find success and happiness,” said Geoff Daniels, executive vice president and general manager of Nat Geo Wild. “Cesar doesn’t hold anything back, and I’m certain our audience will feel even closer to him for it.”
Millan, 43, rose to fame in 2004, when his first TV series, “The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan,” became National Geographic’s top-rated show.
His success story began in Mexico, where he worked on his grandfather’s farm in Sinaloa, and began working with dogs in hopes of becoming a trainer. At 21, unable to speak English, he crossed the border and lived on the streets for two months before getting a job as a groomer and walker when Jada Pinkett hired him. It was Pinkett, before she hooked up with Will Smith, who got him an English tutor when she learned he wanted to be on TV.
He’d go on to build an empire after that, starting a magazine, a philanthropic foundation, a rehabilitation complex, selling his own line of dog products and writing books. (His seventh, “A Short Guide to a Happy Dog,” is due out Jan. 1.)
In 2010 — amid all his fame and fortune — came some misery. He’d sunk into a depression after the death of his pit bull, Daddy, and a divorce from his wife and the mother of his two children. That May he attempted suicide by drug overdose.
“I felt defeated, a big sense of guilt and failure. … I was at the lowest level I had ever been emotionally and psychologically,” he wrote in on his website.
He turned to his dogs for comfort and support, and got more of that from a new human love in his life, Jahira Dar, who now lives with Millan and his youngest son in Los Angeles. He calls her “the one,” and says he plans to propose soon.
His new show, “Leader of the Pack,” will premiere on Nat Geo Wild Jan. 5.
While it will feature his “pack-leader” training philosophy, the new show, filmed in Spain, aims to increase rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of the species that has brought him fame, fortune and solace.
“A dog would never see me as a Mexican or immigrant or think things people say about me,” the AP article quotes him as saying. “Dogs don’t rationalize. They don’t hold anything against a person. They don’t see the outside of a human but the inside of a human.”
Posted by jwoestendiek November 16th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cesar, cesar millan, daddy, death, depression, divorce, documentary, dog whisperer, dogs, leader of the pack, nat geo, nat geo wild, national geographic, new, overdose, pets, program, suicide, television, the real story, trainers, training, tv
Chuck Shuck was star struck, but his dog Gabe took meeting Betty White in stride, as you might expect from a weapons sniffing dog who conducted 210 combat missions in Iraq.
Gabe, the American Humane Association’s “Hero Dog of the Year,” received his award last month in Los Angeles. (The ceremony will be shown on the Hallmark Channel at 8 p.m. this coming Thursday, Nov. 8.) Betty White was honored with two awards during the event.
“That was the highlight,” Gabe’s handler, Sgt. 1st Class Charles “Chuck” Shuck told The State. “Just to be in her presence was amazing.” Gabe, he said “was just his normal self, but I did get him to bark during the standing ovation.”
Another highlight was the grand prize — $10,000 that Shuck will use to support other service dogs and handlers now fighting in Afghanistan.
Now 10 years old, the Lab mix was rescued as a puppy from a Houston shelter the day before he was to be euthanized.
His luck continued in Iraq, where, in 2006, he and Shuck survived when a roadside bomb struck the vehicle they were riding in.
Shuck, 33, is now a Senior Drill Sergeant Leader at Fort Jackson in South Carolina. Gabe, who eventually became sensitive to the sound of explosions and guns, was retired. Since then, he’s gone from 67 pounds to 98 pounds.
About 3 million votes were cast in the hero dog competition.
Betty White received two awards from American Humane Association, the National Humanitarian Medal and the Legacy Award, for dedicating herself to protecting and improving the quality of life for animals.
You can find the American Humane Association’s news release about the ceremony — and information about the other finalists — here.
(Photo: At top, White and Gabe, courtesy of Charles Shuck; above left, Shuck and Gabe, file photo from The State)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 2nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: american humane association, animals, awards, betty white, ceremony, charles shuck, detecting, dog, dogs, explosives, fort jackson, gabe, hallmark, hero dogs, honors, iraq, military, pets, sniffing, television
A British talk show host – while he was quite genteel about it, at least from an American perspective — threw some hard questions at Cesar Millan last week.
Alan Titchmarsh, a UK afternoon talk show host, politely accused Millan of using old-fashioned and inhumane techniques that include punching, kicking and using shock collars on dogs.
“You punish dogs, you hit them,” Titchmarsh said. “I’ve seen you punch a dog in the throat to get it to behave and to most people, like myself, I would say that is totally unacceptable as a way of training a dog.”
“Well obviously I would respectfully disagree with that,” Millan replied. “It’s not a punch, it’s a touch.”
The “Dog Whisperer” — appearing just slightly uncomfortable at some points — responded calmly, asserting that he never punches dogs, but only touches them to redirect negative behavior.
Millan, while some in America are critical of his methods, is even more controversial in the UK, where many, including the RSPCA, view his techniques as unacceptable.
“Adverse training techniques which have been seen to be used by Cesar Millan can cause pain and fear for dogs and may worsen their behavioral problems,” the RSPCA said in a statement read on the air. “The RSPCA believes that using such techniques is unacceptable, nor are they necessary to change dog behavior for the better when other dog trainers use reward-based methods to train dogs very effectively.”
“We’ve never had so many complaints about a guest,” Titchmarsh told Millan.
More than 1,000 people joined a Twitter campaign calling for the appearance be cancelled, and a Facebook page set up by protesters attracted 1,600 followers. Animal welfare activists threatened to disrupt the show, leading to extra security staff being called in.
After the appearance, critics and supporters of Millan continued to go after each other on various Internet forums, including YouTube, where comments grew so heated they were removed and shut down.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 29th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: alan titchmarsh, animals, barbaric, beating, british, cesar millan, cruel, dog, dog whisperer, dogs, host, inhumane, kicking, methods, pets, rspca, shock collars, talk show, techniques, television, training, uk
Among those watching Nicola Adams win a gold medal for the UK in boxing was her Doberman.
The Leeds boxer won her flyweight event on Thursday, becoming the first woman to ever win a gold in the new Olympic sport, SFGate reports.
Sheli Dobbie, manager at Mypetstop, said requesting a television for one’s dog isn’t all that uncommon anymore. “However, this will certainly be a first where the dog can watch their owner – especially in the Olympics – so I’m sure Dexter will be excited.”
Andy Murray, who won gold and silver medals in tennis, shared his achievement with his dogs after the fact, allowing his terriers, Maggie May and Rusty, to each wear one for a picture posted to Maggie May’s Twitter page.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 10th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 2012, andy murray, animals, bond, boxer, boxing, doberman, dog, dogs, gold medal, kennel, leeds, nicola adams, olympics, pets, photo, sharing, television, terriers, tv, twitter, uk, watches
Where Ace and I are living now — just down the road from Mayberry — episodes of “The Andy Griffith Show” were being shown nearly all day long today after news broke about the actor’s death.
There are those who will tell you there is no real Mayberry in North Carolina. They’re the same ones who will tell you there is no Santa. In truth, in North Carolina, Mayberry is never more than 30 minutes away from wherever you are.
You just head down that country road, away from the big city — the Charlotte, the Raleigh, the Greensboro – and stop in the first town big enough to have gas pumps and a barber shop. If you’re greeted with a smile, and it appears genuine, you’re in Mayberry.
Mayberry is a state of mind — a zen-like destination, reachable only by slowing the hell down, caring about your fellow man, letting yourself think in an unrushed manner and having a second piece of pie.
And one man was the sparkly-eyed epitome of that. Andy Griffith, who died peacefully at his home this morning and, according to the local sheriff, has been laid to rest on the family farm on Roanoke Island.
The “Andy Griffith Show” always struck me as a lot like a dog — able to calm me down, and make me smile, and be convinced, for 30 minutes at least, that the world is a good place, and mankind not too shabby a species.
Dogs had center state in only a few episodes of the show, like the time Opie and a friend rigged a walkie-talkie to a dog and convinced Goober his dog could talk, or, my favorite, the time the sheriff’s office was beseiged with strays.
Of all the smallish towns in North Carolina, Mount Airy — Griffith’s birthplace — is the one that makes the most of its link to Mayberry, and, true to form, it’s only a half hour up the road. We’ve been there for a couple of visits.
But most times we get there via remote control. If you keep flipping, you can usually find Mayberry and, for half an hour, go back to a time and place where folks managed to be social without “social networks,” where the pace was slow, things were black and white, and life had just the right amount of complications — enough to keep it interesting without it being overwhelming.
That’s what I liked about Mayberry: Almost every problem could be resolved calmly, kindly, with unrushed reasoning — even what to do with a pesky pack of stray dogs:
PART ONE: In which Otis gets his breakfast and Opie finds a dog …
PART TWO: In which Barney takes the dogs — 11 of them now — to a happy place …
PART THREE: In which the strays save the day …
Posted by jwoestendiek July 3rd, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: andy, andy griffith, andy griffith show, andy taylor, animals, dead, died, dogs, episodes, icon, mayberry, memory, north carolina, nostalgia, opie, pets, sheriff, stray dogs, talking dogs, taylor, television
I didn’t tune in to the first couple of episodes of “Dogs in the City.”
Another “Dog Whisperer” ripoff, I assumed; another show that makes transforming a poorly behaving dog appear, through the wonders of editing, magical and instantaneous. Then there was the pretty boy star of the CBS show — far too good looking to have been hired for his dog training skills, I figured.
But, based on the episode that aired last week, I like it, and, so far, him.
Here’s why. Justin Silver, the New York City trainer who’s the star of the show, went straight to the core of the behavioral problems of the three dogs featured — humans, of course, in every case.
Last week’s episode looked at a young couple on the verge of marriage whose dogs didn’t get along, an overly rambunctious family golden doodle, and a lonely woman who complained that two of her dogs, dachschunds both, were manhandling her third, a pampered celebrity Yorkie.
In each case the solution boiled down to three words, or less:
To the doting Yorkie owner whose world revolves entirely around her dogs, “Get a life.”
To the woman who saw her husband’s pit bulls as threatening to her Chihuahua — when actually it was the Chihuahua who was doing all the threatening – ”Chill out.”
And to the husband who encouraged rough play between his two young children and the golden doodle, “You’re an ass.”
He didn’t put it quite that bluntly, but almost, suggesting the husband release his pent-up energies by joining an “over 40 basketball league” rather than allowing and encouraging his children to “play” with the dog in a manner that came across as both cruel and harassing.
True, they were simple, obvious anwers — the kind everyone can see, except maybe the dogs’ owners.
A dog raised with no rules, in a chaotic environment, is most likely to become a chaotic sort, as seemed the case with the golden doodle. Beings that are idle, hardly ever get outdoor exercise and lack any socialization, like the dachshunds, and prison inmates, are going to come up with their own forms of stimulation, appropriate or not. Nervous and fearful dogs most often have a nervous and fearful owner at the other end of the leash.
It was neither rocket science nor miracle working, and while such shows always make canine transormations appear more instant thay they really are, Silver seems adept at getting to the root of the problem, coming up with a plan to address it, and dispensing both brutal honesty and compassion along the way.
Silver explained to the Yorkie owner, who admitted to spending 99 percent of her time in the house, that her dogs were acting out because they got little exercise. Minus stimulation, they created their own, albeit it at the expense of the Yorkie who seemed humped, licked and bitten to no end. He insisted the dogs started getting some walks, and he took their owner to a meet-up group, where she and her dogs had a chance to socialize.
With the Chihuahua owner, it was clear from the start that she had issues with pit bulls — and thus her Chihuahua did, too. The Chihuahua was picking up on her nervousness, and growling and snarling at the mellow pair of pitties. Silver worked to put her at ease around her husband-to-be’s dogs.
And with the golden doodle, it was a mainly matter of teaching the husband and two children that their dog wasn’t a punching bag, and setting some boundaries — for the dog, and kids, and dad.
“Dogs in the City” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 25th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, behavior, cbs, chihuahuas, dachshunds, dog training, dogs, dogs in the city, golden doodles, justin silver, pets, pit bulls, problems, review, television, trainer, tv, yorkshire terrier