With help from an Olympic luger, Twitter and a dog who is at least part wolf, Jimmy Kimmel has once again put one over on the news media.
Then again, fooling the news media has a very low degree of difficulty these days.
Kimmel conspired with 21-year-old luger Kate Hansen, under whose name the video was posted on Twitter and elsewhere.
“I’m pretty sure this is a wolf wandering my hall in Sochi,” she said in a comment accompanying the video on YouTube.
Pretty much every major news outlet quickly picked up the story Thursday, echoing the Olympian’s cry of wolf, and apparently forgetting the entire moral of that fable.
USA Today was among those setting the record straight today — generally in a humorous vein that didn’t focus on how any laziness on the media’s part might have contributed to being duped.
Hansen, who finished competing Feb. 11 and is staying at the Olympic village, tweeted the video with the hashtag #sochiproblems and #sochifail. The hashtag was commonly used by visitors to Sochi for complaints surrounding the Games, including some about stray dogs.
Kimmel came clean last night, revealing the set created in the studio to resemble the dormitory corridor, and the wolf-dog, named Rugby.
Hansen appeared, via Skype, on the show as well, and said she has experienced some repercussions for the role she played.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 21st, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, dogs, dormitory, frenzy, hansen, hoax, kate hansen, luge, luger, media, olympics, pets, prank, Sochi, twitter, video, wolf, wolves, youtube
You know how frustrated you get when you have to tell your dog something over and over again?
Come here. Come HERE. Listen to me. Get over here right now. Don’t make me say it again. COME HERE!
In this video, the shoe is sort of on the other paw.
John Ventresco, of New Hampshire, is trying to persuade his 11-month-old husky, Blaze, to get into her crate.
Not only does Blaze physically (but peacefully) resist, refusing to budge, but she says what sounds like “no” — 30 times by my count, at least 10 of those quite clearly:
Posted on YouTube just two weeks ago, the video is approaching 5 million views, meaning a lot of people are getting a chuckle, and learning how not to train a dog, and debating whether Ventresco — as gentle and good-humored as his urging is — is going to get bitten one of these days, and, if so, will he have deserved it.
Eventually one of them will have the other properly trained, I’m just not sure if it will be Ventresco or Blaze. Right now, it appears to be a draw.
The bigger question it raises, to me, anyway, is whether the day will come when dogs really do talk. I predict it will — that they will someday talk, on their own, without the aid of implants, headsets, devices that monitor their brain waves and apps that translate what they’re thinking into words.
Several projects are underway that do just that — because we humans want to know what’s going on in their heads, and we want to know now, and somebody somewhere thinks it might make some money.
We’ll take advantage of technology to bring that about and get it on the market as soon as possible, rather than wait a few hundred or thousand more years when, I’d venture, dogs will have evolved to the point that they’re talking on their own anyway.
It’s only natural for that to happen, with them living so closely to us, observing us around the clock, and watching too much TV. They will continue to pick up our skills — learning to operate a remote control, warming up some chicken nuggets, uttering words, then entire phrases.
Mark my words. By the year 2525 (and that’s just a wild guess), dogs will be saying “yes” and “no,” and more:
I want to go outside for a while.
But wait, there’s more. Details at 11. Ohmigod, they killed Kenny. Live from New York, it’s Saturday night.
Put me in that damn crate again and, I swear, I’m going to call my attorney.
They may never have as sophisticated a vocabulary as us, may never be as erudite, snotty, self-promoting and adept at making barbed comments as us. But the day will come that they use words.
The question is not whether dogs will someday learn to talk. It’s whether, when they do, we’ll listen.
We already stink at that — in terms of listening to our fellow humans, and in terms of hearing what our dogs are silently saying. We’re so dependent on words we don’t hone our wordless communication skills, even though that mode is often more honest and meaningful.
My fear is that, through continued domicile-sharing with humans, dogs are going to learn to talk, but also — like Blaze, like Ventresco — not to listen.
It all brings to mind some lyrics from a song that has nothing to do with dogs — Don McLean’s “Vincent.” When you think about it, the misunderstood artist and modern day dog have much in common. We wonder what they’re trying to say, fail to see their brilliance, and don’t appreciate them fully until they’re gone.
Instead, often, we taunt, ridicule and shame them.
How much shorter might Van Gogh’s career have been, how many appendages might he have lopped off, were he around in the Internet age, reading nasty comments from people about his paintings?
How much quicker might the civil rights movement have progressed if people had shut up and listened to Martin Luther King, Jr., the first time?
Are we getting any better at listening, or quicker to turn a deaf ear?
As the song “Vincent” says:
They would not listen, they’re not listening still.
Perhaps they never will…
Let’s give it a listen.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 20th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, apps, artist, behavior, biology, blaze, civility, cognition, comments, communication, crate, devices, dog talk, dog training, dogs, don mclean, evolution, headsets, humans, husky, impatience, implants, internet, kennel, listen, listening, martin luther king, martin luther king jr, misunderstood, mlk, mlk day, no!, noooo, persuasion, pets, refusal, repetition, resistance, siberian husky, skills, starry starry night, stubborness, talking, talking dogs, technology, thoughts, training, translation, van gogh, video, vincent, viral, vocabulary, vocalizing, what part of no don't you understand, words, youtube
Believe it or not, the poster of this video is a dog trainer — though, if you’ve got an infant in the house, you might not want him to teach your dog this particular trick.
Alex Garcia, a dog trainer based in Brooklyn, jokingly says he posted this video on YouTube “in part to discourage friends from asking me to baby-sit.”
According to his website, CivilPet.com, he works with dogs, cats, and companion parrots, providing dog training, dog walking, and pet sitting services.
The website contains videos of several “useless dog tricks” he has taught his dog, Raja.
He also writes a blog, and did an entire entry that features step-by-step directions on how to teach your dog to put a baby (or at least a baby doll) into the oven:
“Step 2: Use shaping to get her to put the (toy) baby in the oven. Hold the baby in the position you want it to land, click your dog for investigating it, then grabbing it. When she grabs it, click and shove food in her face so she’ll drop it in the same position. She should hold the baby, you click, she drops it, then gets fed, then withhold the click until she drops it, then click. Gradually, start with the baby further away from the point in which you want the dog to drop it, then you’ll eventually be able to put the baby on the floor …”
In a disclaimer at the end, he writes: “This is not an actual How-To guide; I’m just going over what I went through to train this for anyone who is curious. If you attempt to train this to your dog, you’re doing so at your own risk. I am not responsible if: your dog opens or closes the oven while you’re cooking; your dog puts an actual baby in the oven; you get bit trying this with your resource guarding pet; your oven breaks somehow; anything bad happens.”
We’re guessing Garcia isn’t so quick to shirk responsibility when he’s on the job; otherwise his repeat customers would be few. As he sees it, he’s just making training a little more fun through his useless pet tricks.
“Training provides great mental stimulation, even when the behaviors themselves have no practical application in the real world,” he says.
Other videos on his website are somewhat cuter and not quite so worrisome, including this one entitled “The Police are Coming.”
Posted by John Woestendiek November 7th, 2013 under videos.
Tags: alex garcia, animals, baby, baby in the oven, brooklyn, civilpets, dog trainer, dogs, doll, infant, instructions, new york, oven, pets, raja, raja takes care of the baby, really stupid pet tricks, responsbility, stupid pet tricks, take care of the baby, video, youtube
Here we see a duck and a dog peacefully sharing a meal — at least until the food runs out.
Then the duck gets a little peckish.
The dog, who looks like he might have a little pit bull in him, takes it all in stride before nonchalantly walking off.
We won’t cast judgment, since we’re not sure if the food actually belonged to, or was meant for, the duck or the dog.
There’s no explanation of the video by the person who put it on YouTube — other than “quack, quack, quack.”
Interestingly, the comments that have been made about the video indicate there’s some sort of argument going on between humans, who sometimes have trouble sharing, and get a little peckish, too. Apparently someone thinks the video was “stolen.”
“Please stop stealing other people’s videos,” reads one comment.
It’s not clear — to me, anyway — whether they’re complaining about the video being stolen and put on YouTube, or they think it was “stolen” off of YouTube, for use somewhere else, as we have done, via the embed code that most all YouTube videos have, for the express purpose of sharing.
The comments are of no help in figuring things out — instead they consist of the kind of not-so-witty banter we’ve grown to expect from comments on the Internet (except those left on ohmidog!, of course.)
Whose video is it? Whose food was it?
Dunno. But I’m happy to share.
NPR’s Scott Simon took up the subject of dogs today — specifically, those two tsunami survivors we first showed you four days ago. (Here they are again, above.)
They were caught on camera by Fuji TV in Mito, Japan — the brown and white dog seemingly guarding over the apparently unconscious other one, and placing its paw on the other’s head when it finally stirs.
The heart-wrenching images quickly spread around the world on YouTube, and the lack of any confirmed reports on what became of the dogs left many wondering, and trolling the Internet for information.
Simon reports, as others have — based primarily on a Facebook posting by Kenn Sakurai, the president of a dog food company, who has been among the volunteers –that both dogs were rescued and are in a veterinary clinic in the Ibaraki Prefecture.
Simon’s interpretation of the scene, like most, was: “The dog was sticking by his friend, and asking for help.”
It was similar to what he saw with humans, he says, while covering Hurricane Katrina: “…It seemed that the commonest reason people who stayed through the storm gave for refusing to evacuate was, ‘I couldn’t leave my pet.’
Simon goes on to say: “Among the thousands of volunteers who have been mining the rubble of the earthquake are Japanese Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support, who look and listen for dogs and cats among the ruins. To those who might find such relief work frivolous when so many people are hungry and homeless, Animal Rescue and Support says, ‘helping the pets in Japan is to help people. All of us who are animal lovers can relate to what it would feel like to be reunited with a pet after a disaster.'”
While dogs go homeless in Japan, Simon notes, it’s business as usual in China, where Tibetan mastiffs continue to bring in huge bucks. An 11-month old Tibetan mastiff puppy named Hong Dong, or Big Splash, sold last week for $1.5 million, the highest price ever paid for a dog (unless you count cloning).
In China, Simon says, “Tibetan mastiffs are massive, fluffy status symbols … Hong Dong has been raised on beef, chicken, abalone, and sea cucumber. His breeder told Britain’s Telegraph, ‘He is a perfect specimen.'”
Simon concludes the piece by asking this question: “The million-dollar puppy that’s been fattened with abalone, or the grimy dog with brown and white splotches who stood over his friend until he found help: which do you think of as a perfect specimen?”
I’ll have to go with the grimy, wave-tossed mutt who has made a far bigger splash than Big Splash — and who is a symbol of something far more important than status.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 19th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, big splash, china, cloning, dogs, dollars, earthquake, facebook, friendship, fuji tv, hong dong, japan, japanese, kenn sakurai, loyalty, million, mito, npr, pets, rescue, scott simon, simon says, status symbol, tibetan mastiff, tsunami, tsunami dogs, two dogs, two dogs in japan, video, youtube
The Kennedy family says Tucker, their one and a half year old Schnoodle, plays the piano and sings along at least 3 or 4 times every day, but, despite all the practice, doesn’t seem to be getting any better.
Apparently, the public enjoys the pooch’s musical stylings: In only a month on YouTube, the Tucker video has garnered near a million views.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 20th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, dog, dogs, funny, kennedy, pets, piano, popular, schnoodle, singing, sings, tucker, video, videos, youtube
Singing Sierra is back, and just in time for Christmas.
Adam Yamada-Hanff, a Baltimore area community college student, has posted several videos on YouTube of Sierra “singing” as he plays his saxophone. This latest one also features Cody, who clearly considers himself a backkground vocalist.
We met Sierra and Adam back in May, when they — well, Adam, anyway — agreed to a quick sidewalk performance during my “Hey, That’s My Dog!” photo exhibit at Captain Larry’s, a bar and restaurant on Fort Avenue in South Baltimore.
Adam uses Sierra’s singing abilities to help raise money for animal shelters and rescue organizations.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 16th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adam yamada-hanff, animals, baltimore, captain larry's, cody, dog, dogs, pets, rescue, shelter, sierra, singing, singing dog, singing sierra, video, youtube