Some people!

Discussion in 'Off-Topic & Chit Chat' started by CollieMan, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. CollieMan Experienced Member

    [media][/media]There is a Volkswagen advert on television at the moment here in the UK, that features a dog shaking and singing.

    Jan and I have found it quite amusing to be honest, and, as someone who likes to use his clicker to shape unusual behaviours with Ellie, I've appreciated the skill and time that has obviously gone into getting the dog to shake for the camera.

    However, as is bloody typical of this country, the PC brigade are once again banging their oh-so deafening drums, and shrieking claims of animal cruelty!

    I'm staggered, I really am. I've seen that advert so many times, and never once has it even entered my mind to think that the dog must be being abused. On the contrary, I've presumed that like the relationship we have with Ellie, this dog must enjoy spending a lot of time with its handler in training sessions. I've absolutely no reason to think to the contrary, and I genuinely can't see how anyone can even make such a claim, based on just the final cut of an advert.

    Luckily, there have been only 286 complaints about the advert, but, really, what is this bloody country coming to? It's a disgrace.

    Surely, these people must get that it's the same as an actor acting depressed for the camera.

  2. Jean Cote Administrator

    The dog in the car looks like a computer animation while the dog in the bank/store looks like a very timid dog. I see it as legitimate for people to be concerned of these commercials because there is a possibility that the dog was frightened to get the shivering shot. But it could also be a natural thing that the dog does in public and unknown places, who knows. You'd have to see the dog in real life to judge.
  3. CollieMan Experienced Member

    But that's the point. The dog in the car is supposed to have confidence, brought about by the car. If people here displayed videos of their dog doing the shivering and timid look, on command, as a trick, I doubt that you'd see it as a negative at all, but would congratulate the handler for being able to shape such an unusual behaviour.

    As you say, all would be clearer if we could see the dog in real life, but I hate how these people automatically jump to the negative conclusions because it suits them to do so. I'm going to see if I can find out about the dog, because I'm willing to bet that it can perform this behaviour on command at the drop of a hat, in the same way that some of us teach our dogs to look shy.
  4. emmasmamma Guest

    I'm not 100% certain, but it looks like they used two different dogs. the timid dog has two black spots on his right ear. they don't show a full right side view on the dog in the car, but it doesn't appear to have the same markings. It could be that the timid dog is just that, timid.
  5. l_l_a New Member

    First off, a funny thing happened when I went to watch the video: As I started the video for some reason my internet radio also turned on at the same time, I don't know why. But apparently it turned on so I was listening to the music in the commercial (the dog singing) overlayed onto a hard drum-n-bass beat (from my internet radio). but it was in such perfect synchronicity that I didn't realize I was hearing two separate music tracks simultaneously, I thought it was all part of the commercial's music! I thought, damn, that is pretty un-mainstream music for a mainstream TV commercial!! Then when the video ended yet the techno beat still continued I was momentarily confused and then I realized my internet radio was on!! What are the chances the two music tracks would be perfectly synchronized and with the same tempo and beat?? I should be a DJ!

    OK now about the commercial itself: I must say it's a very unusual commercial! I didn't really understand what the purpose was of having the dog be shivering or timid-looking indoors. I thought the part where the dog is singing was very well done though!

    but either way, whether or not there's cruelty involved is hard to judge from the commercial. Did they train the dog to shiver and look timid or did they instead induce those negative emotions in the dog for the camera? We don't know.

    or maybe the dog just naturally shivers all the time anyway. I've seen some dogs who seem to always be shivering for some reason, like a nervous tick...

    this is somewhat related, but a couple years ago I heard a radio interview with the director of the academy award-winning south african film "Tsotsi". I haven't actually seen the film myself, I just remember hearing this bit of the interview with the director because at one point he talked about the dogs in the film. The film portrays a lot of violence and apparently there was a scene where some dogs were supposed to also have been beaten. They don't actually show dogs being beaten since that would be animal cruelty, they just had the dogs trained to crawl on the ground to look like they were in extreme pain or fear. The director said that it looked very real and convincing like they were in pain, except their wagging tails gave away their act! So in the end they got around the wagging tails by using Rottweilers since they only have stumps for tails so it's less obvious their tails were wagging and they were actually enjoying themselves the whole time!
  6. nereis Well-Known Member

    I think the problem with that could be is that the dog must have been scared/frightened in order to capture the behaviour.

    I don't really have an opinion on it.
  7. CollieMan Experienced Member

    When people see those sad looking dogs in the dog shelter/charity donation adverts, do they look at them in the same way? Have those dogs been deliberately abused to look sad, in order to pull on our heartstrings? or does the fact that it's a dog charity exclude them from such accusations?

    I really find the fuss quite incredible. Dogs are trained to do far more remarkable things than shiver, for movies, adverts, and other media work. It seems to me that people are seeing the action and presuming that it could only be bought about through harshness or abuse, because the dog looks sad. As a forum full of clicker trainers, I find that really quite bewildering.

    When we see a dog trained to act shy, we don't presume that the dog must have been subjected to humiliating experiences to make that happen. I find it really very fascinating how perceptions change in such a fickle manner, based on just the appearance, and context of what the behaviour is being used for.
  8. bunnyboo New Member

    I had a dog that was conditioned to shiver and act scared in response to certain triggers. I didn't train him, but he figured out that if he acted frightened, all the little girls in my family would give him treats and attention to make him feel better. I didn't realize he was faking it until I was a teenager, when I notice he wouldn't act timid during those times (thunder storms, men in the room) unless there were young girls around to "comfort" him. Turns out, my timid dog was just a creepy old man!
    He would also limp and whimper if somebody stepped on him or tripped over him. Then he'd stop when everybody left the room. Usually, once he figured out he was being watched again, he'd start limping again . . . often with the wrong leg!

    Dogs have an amazing capacity, not just to learn, but to manipulate our emotions! :dogtongue:
  9. Jean Cote Administrator

    What's so wrong with filing a complaint? I'm sure the people who did had legitimate concerns about the dog's well-being, and in their heart, only wanted to make sure the matter was investigated.

    I know it's only a commercial, but we live in a free society where people are free to think and act as they please, as long as they don't hurt anyone. So I don't see any point in getting angry or confused as there will always be other people who don't see things the same way that you do.
  10. CollieMan Experienced Member

    There speaks a man who clearly isn't subject to British television. I can tell you that the most complained about British television advert, ever, was a pizza advert (I think it was pizza), because it showed two people speaking with food in their mouths!

    So what's wrong with filing a complaint? When the huge massive minority are given (in fact, encouraged) the opportunity to make spurious complaints with such ease, freedom of creativity and expression is frequently stifled as a result. Further, when trivial complaints are seen to be taken seriously, it perpetuates the problem as people think of the last trivial complaint and think "well, if that one was complained about....." and so the roller-coaster of ridicule goes around and around and around.

    At almost forty years of age, I think that I have had time to learn that for myself. I don't give a damn whether they share my views or not. (In fact, I've usually preferred not to share a majority opinion, just because it is the most popular.) I do give a damn when our television (amongst many other things) is complained about to this really quite trivial degree, and it has to be taken seriously, wasting the time and effort of others. But hey, if they're not complaining, they're suing these days.

    Oh how I miss the days when people just got on with their own thing.... Of course, the amusing part, from my perspective at least, is that the PC brigade will have done VW a huge favour. I bet views of that ad have sky-rocketed since the complaints! :)
  11. jasperaliceuk Experienced Member

    I must admit when I first saw the ad was 'wow, that was clever to train the dog to do that' - any form of cruelty didn't occur to me. The thing is, as many of us on this forum and other dog owners who follow positive training methods are aware, it is possible to train such a behaviour so we are not going to find any problem here. To Joe Bloggs their first reaction is going to be 'How cruel' not 'that's one clever dog'.

  12. l_l_a New Member

    well since they have now assured the public that the dogs were not in the least bit harmed and that they were doing it completely willingly then there really is no reason for concern. And it's a compliment to the trainer and dogs for being able to pull off such a convincing act! But before they made the official announcement in response to the outcry, I dont' see how the general public (who are most likely not clicker trainers) could have known or should have automatically assumed that the dogs were OK. Because if all you see is a cowering and trembling dog, how are people supposed to know that the trainers/advertisement-makers really did take the time to train the dog to do such a complex behavior willingly rather than taking the shortcut and mistreating the dog just to capture a scared response on camera, especially since the behavior looks so realistic. IF the dog was in fact subjected to harshness to make it cower and tremble, then that would be a legitimate ethical concern so given the potential seriousness of the issue the public outcry was, I believe, valid. So while it's great that it's been clarified for sure that the dogs were perfectly fine and just highly trained and I can appreciate the spectacular training skill involved, still I wouldn't fault or condemn any of the people who had raised concerns and called for investigations in the first place.
  13. harry8 New Member

    I agree with everyone's point of view - dogs are very clever but this one does look frightened. Also, I don't think it can be compared to a charity advert as the RSPCA or whoever are doing it for the benefit of the animals and give them a better life. The VW ad however is to sell cars and has no relevance to the wellbeing of any dog. If they said they'd donate a percentage of their sales to animal charities, it could have been a different story. However, i'm sure you'll agree that very little businesses would do this!
  14. bullysheful New Member

    In my opinion the singing would have been enough for a funny and deep commercial.The shaking was not that necessary.Timid dog , yes maybe , but what if it wasn't about that and the dog is really scared and uncomfortable?

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