Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Peeing on the kitchen floor


When my brother and I were kids, my brother had a puppy. The puppy, Willie, was very young when my brother got him.

We wanted to teach Willie to pee in the backyard, not on the kitchen floor. The idea was simple. When you'd see Willie peeing on the floor, you'd get him outside as quickly as possible and tell him he was a good dog. He'd learn that peeing in the backyard was good. Peeing on the kitchen floor wasn't.

You had to get Willie outside immediately. You couldn't come into the kitchen half an hour after Willie had peed on the floor and then put him outside and say he was a good dog. He wouldn't have any idea what the point was. You had to connect peeing on the floor with the reward.

I suppose you could also catch Willie peeing on the floor and tell him he was a bad dog. He'd learn to connect peeing on the floor with punishment.

It wouldn't really work if you punished a dog half an hour after he peed on the floor.

I was thinking about Willie after I read the sports news today.

Johan peed on the floor

Nearly two years ago Mary and I went to Salt Lake City to watch the Olympics. We saw Johan Muehlegg dominate a world class field. But, Johan "peed on the kitchen floor." Johan was doping.

Today Johan got his punishment. He was stripped of his "gold" medals.

That's good news. But, it is a bit like telling Willie he's a bad dog 30 minutes after he peed on the floor.

It is a bit strange because Muehlegg wasn't just doping nearly two years ago -- he was caught doping nearly two years ago. But, the punishment took almost two years.

It was an odd situation. If I remember the details, Muehlegg was caught doping in a test after he'd won his third race. He lost that medal, but he didn't lose the two he'd already won. Didn't lose them until now, that is.

I understand the need for due process. It is just a shame it took so long to resolve the Olympic results.

The Olympic ski stadium at Soldier Hollow.

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