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May 28th, 2012
The puppy is now 9 months old.
She still has some annoying puppy habits, such as pouncing me about an hour before I would prefer to wake up in the morning, and occasionally shredding things or having accidents in the house.
However, she is mostly doing just fine in the house, having the run of the house, during the day by herself.
Her protective and territorial instincts have kicked-in, she's good at alerting me if the horses are doing horsey things (which is somewhat annoying), and also if people are walking within about a 100 meter range of the cabin.
She's still very much a lap dog in her own mind, even though she's about 60# now.
She's picking-up a lot of commands very quickly, even though she's not very consistent at obeying them. I think putting more time into training will go pretty far, I'm pondering doing schutzhund training. The only problem is that she often tries to find convenient ways to obey, such as sitting on things (rather than just on the floor where she's standing) when I ask her to sit. I also need to work a bit more on socializing her so she doesn't get as upset when other dogs bark at her.
What aggressive dogs are for...
So this week, one of the hot issues around the People's Republic is a home intrusion, in which the intruder was (non-fatally) shot in the homeowners' bedroom, in the dark, after refusing to stop advancing on them when told to stop and surrender. (Follow-up story at http://www.dailycamera.com/news/boulder/ci_20710045
Now normally, this wouldn't be all that controversial, especially under Colorado's "Make my Day" law, which makes homeowners immune to criminal charges if they use force (including lethal force) against intruders who have entered their homes, if they feel their lives are in danger. However, in this case, the intruder was an extremely intoxicated young woman.
Many of the reactions on The Daily Camera seem to blame the victims while excusing inexcusible behavior on the part of the intruder. I'm sorry, but it doesn't matter if you're stupid, young, and blitzed, there's no excuse for going into other people's homes and then refusing to comply with a command to back off. According to another Denver news agency, the neighbors reported that the young woman had been tripping their motion detectors and dogs, presumably by trying other doors, just trying to find one that was unlocked and not alarmed.
Obviously, the woman has only herself to blame for getting shot while criminally trespassing into someone's bedroom. It's not even relevant that she had incapacitated herself to a high degree with alcohol, that was her own choice as well. It's completely unreasonable to blame the victims for things they could've done differently. The truth is, yes, the shooting could've been avoided, but a bad choice was made by the individual who was shot, and moderately poor choices were made by the shooter. That the intruder is "disappointed" that charges are being filed against her only speaks to her immaturity, since she should be focusing more on apologizing to everyone and taking responsibility for her actions, rather than whining about the consequences.
But on the latter, it would seem to be a good choice to have had a dog around to raise the alarm and begin softening-up the intruder. Dogs may not be the cheapest alarm system, and they may not be effective at actually summoning the police, but they're great at biometric recognition (at fairly long range), great at raising the alarm, and pretty good at providing a bit of targeted force. I think the best comment on the article is probably the one pondering why the homeowners didn't have a dog if they were concerned with stalkers.
May 9th, 2012
The dog breed discrimination issue seems to be a hot topic lately. More and more cities have singled-out American Pit Bull Terriers and closely-related breeds by banning them from being owned within city limits.
I usually am one of the folks who repeats the mantra, "It's not the breed, it's the owner," when it comes to breed discrimination due to public safety concerns. Maybe I like breeds that have had pretty bad reputations in the past, but the working breeds such as Rottweilers, German Shepherds, and Dobermans seem to usually be able to be called-off an attack and don't go as ballistic over other animals and people who are not being antagonistic.
Yes, Pit Bulls can be really sweet dogs and most probably make great pets.
But after numerous incidents of Pit Bulls mauling other dogs and humans over the past couple of years, I've re-evaluated. It's really not that Pit Bulls are being singled-out and over-reported for violence, it's that they really are dominating the vicious animal stories. A week or so ago, a PB dashed out of its yard and ripped another dog, whose owners had it out for a walk, to shreds, killing it right in front of them. The PB's owner shoved her own kids in the house and tried to call it off, but it just wouldn't listen until the smaller dog was dead. Then there was a case just a couple days ago of a PB smashing through its home's storm door and mauling an older gentleman who was just walking down the sidewalk. Those are just a couple more anecdotal cases on the massive pile of anecdotes regarding PBs being loose cannons that flip-out, ignore any and all commands their owners try to give, and maul other pets and humans.
Sure, a lot of it is probably still on the owners, since trashy people tend to breed and train fighting dogs and they favor PBs at the moment, and the trashiest town is the one where almost all of the incidents are taking place. Since you can't outlaw being trashy very effectively, I guess the next best thing is just to outlaw trashy people's favorite fighting breed until they find other hobbies.
It's just really a shame that a breed that had been known in more distant memory for being great, protective family pets are statistically involved in the most unprovoked incidents, the most serious injury incidents, and the most deadly mauling incidents in the past several years. There's something wrong with that picture, and it seems to be getting worse, not better.
Obama married to gay marriage
Finally, Obama took a solid stand rather than non-committal wishy-washy statements on the issue of gay marriage.
My respect for him just went up dramatically, especially since he came out and said it well before the election, and not just as the sort of cheap stunt some politicians pull when they realize they're out the door and have nothing to lose. If he loses, at least he loses on high ground.
It'll no doubt be a big wedge issue that the Republicans will use to get the typical ignorant religious types and bigots going. But, by the same token, it's a pretty strategic move that could do a great job of pushing the Republicans to take a bigoted stand that would alienate some of the Independents, progressives, and Libertarians in their ranks.
This is going to be an interesting Silly Season leading-up to the election, that's for sure.
April 28th, 2012
The War on Women
Those silly Republicans are at it again, trying to allow employers to discriminate against women in insurance benefit matters, this time in the Colorado state senate. Good thing we have a majority of Democrats that smacked 'em down.Though, to be fair, I would propose an amendment that allows employers to exclude their employees' coverage for prostate exams for men on religious grounds, because a finger penetrating a man's anus sure seems a lot like sodomy.
Oh, my bad, Republicans only want to control women, we wouldn't want to stop a man from any conceivable health care entitlements, especially not a certain erectile dysfunction drug that starts with a "V" and enables good Republican men to be bigger pricks.
April 20th, 2012
The Martin-Zimmerman drama
I don't have a whole lot to say about that specific case, except there seems to be more disinformation and hysteria than real facts and accurate information. The case is making a lot of people a lot of crazy.
But here's my take on the general situation.
In my rural neighborhood, I have a good vantage point of who's coming and going, and I profile. It goes something like this: "people/cars I know who are my neighbors" and "people/cars I don't recognize". Every once in a while, there are people looking to break-in to homes or snoop around for things that aren't locked down. Usually it's just hunters, 4-wheelers, or other assorted trespassers. It seems like a quiet, sleepy area with negligible activity. It might seem largely abandoned. However, I would advise people who think that, just because they've wandered into an area where the roads aren't paved, there aren't eyes on their every move.
While anyone may have a right to use a public right-of-way, don't think for a second that one doesn't have to explain his/her presence or that it's not within someone else's rights to monitor one's every move. The latter is often the difference between a crime-ridden cesspool of a neighborhood and a neighborhood in which many people don't even lock their doors.
My neighborhood would be the latter. I guess I really don't lock my door all that often, having a scary dog helps with that. But also, the situation is like this: Maybe bad people would come around, thinking they're going to take some poor victim's stuff. I pity that level of naivete. Maybe good neighbors don't bother locking their doors because we're the predators, and if you're caught being up to no good, you're lucky if you get someone who will call the sheriff to deal with you.
Am I exaggerating in the ominous tone? I won't say, and while we all mostly keep to ourselves, most of us do look out for each other. Many of us have guns, and some are kind of paranoid and crazy. That's the reputation for the area I live in, anyway, and I think it serves us rather well.
February 22nd, 2012
Here's a typical example of a religious person playing a religious persecution card when told they won't be allowed to impose their beliefs on others:
"Why is it that liberals ever get away with pretending they are "tolerant" when they wish to force others to do things against their own beliefs?"
And here's how I've started responding:
Why is it that most Christians and members of other religious groups always scream about how much they're being persecuted when progressive societies deny them the ability to force their religious views, bigotry, and morally-motivated violence on everyone else who doesn't hold the same beliefs they do?
See, that's the problem. You're confusing the point at which your sphere of influence ends. It's only religious persecution if someone meddles with your own personal choices regarding your own life. It's not persecution when someone tells you to mind your own business and stop trying to impose your beliefs on others. But hey, welcome to the club that "everyone else" who is a member of a religious minority or non-believer has been in to a much greater degree. I'm glad it makes you uncomfortable and angry. Now, stop doing it to others.