Simi Valley Sophist

The Simi Valley Sophist ruminates on all manner of topics from the micro to the macro. SVS travels whatever path strikes his fancy. Encyclopedia Britannica: Sophist "Any of certain Greek lecturers, writers, and teachers in the 5th and 4th centuries BC, most of whom travelled about the Greek-speaking world giving instruction in a wide range of subjects in return ..."

Location: California, United States

Retired: 30years law enforcement-last 20 years Criminal Intelligence Detective.

Monday, January 02, 2006

A Wish for the New Year

Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Dennis Prager opened his show today with an open-ended question as to what people would like to change for this New Year, other than political issues. Dogs sprang to my mind. Mute dogs.

My wish is that all dogs be magically rendered mute. Dogs may be man’s best friend, but they would be a much better friend if they could not pollute the peace and tranquility by their incessant barking. I know, I know, not all dogs are barking nuisances. In fact, most are not. So for those of you with dogs which do not harangue the neighborhood, what’s the harm if your dog can no longer bark?

I once had an Australian Shepherd that could not get it through her mind that her job as a herding animal was to herd and not bark every time a horse got down and rolled. Training did not work. Shock collars did not work. Surgically removing her vocal cords worked. She could then bark to her heart’s content and not disturb anyone. Of course, my wife decided that the situation had caused the dog to become depressed. So she took the dog back to the vet who did the surgery. The vet assured my wife that the dog was not depressed. He explained that the dog simply thought that she had gone deaf to her own barking.

The barking is only part of the problem. Other than in working breeds which are actually in the process of working, it is symptomatic of a much larger problem, and that is dog aggression. Barking dogs are aggressive, and aggressive dogs are dangerous and will bite. But, if the dog is adequately contained, the barking is a nuisance enough.

I can already hear the howls, as opposed to barks, of protest from dog owners. But guess what, you are the real problem. It is you who refuses to train and discipline your dogs. It is you who refuses to take responsibility for your dog disturbing the peace. It is you who allows your dog to run free and assault people and other animals alike.

I was once riding my horse on an equestrian and hiking trail down a rocky arroyo north of Pasadena when I happened upon a man with two unleashed large dogs. The dogs rushed my horse snarling and snapping at the horse’s legs as the man made no effort whatsoever to either verbally or physically restrain the attacking curs. That is he made no attempt until I shouted to him that I fully intended to shoot his dogs if they were not immediately restrained. The fellow was quite insulted and shouted his displeasure at me as he withdrew with the dogs in tow. It’s a good thing that he did so, because I fully intended to dispatch those dogs.

The moral of the story is that the domesticated dog is only domesticated as long as he is required to be by humans. When humans do not take the responsibility to train and control their dogs, neither deserves to be in the company of the other.

Happy New Year, and may your dog be a mute.