A couple of months ago, I got a speaking inquiry. The highlights: during SXSW, technology-related, and involves dogs. The first two parts were typical for me. The last wasn't. Call me intrigued.
It turns out that Purina launched a new line of pet food earlier this year along with a companion training app called P5. Their first event was at the Super Bowl featuring Daryl "Moose" Johnston, who taught his 3-year old dog Gunner to catch frisbees and had his 11-year old daughter run Gunner through exercises they had learned leading up to the event.
So the ask was easy - use the P5 app to train my dogs and show them off at a SXSW event. Although we only had about six weeks, it seemed possible...except for one thing.
My dogs are 11.5 years old.
In human equivalents, this means my bichon is 62 and my black lab is 74.
That's not all. Purina wanted my dogs to learn new agility exercises and show them off in six weeks. At SXSW.
As the saying goes:
"The dogge must lerne it, whan he is a whelpe, or els it will not be: for it is harde to make an olde dogge to stoupe." - John Fitzherbert's The boke of husbandry, 1534. Source: The Phrase Finder
In other words, centuries-old wisdom tells us that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. But centuries ago, the world didn't have iPhone apps and geniuses with Ph.D's in canine nutrition and physiology.
To see how this turns out - and whether technology can help turn good dogs into great dogs - join me this weekend at Bark By Bark West from Purina Pro Plan:
- Austin Urban Vet Center (710 West 5th Street at Rio Grande)
- Saturday March 9th
- Starts at 2 pm
I'll be there with my dogs and there will also be a pro dog show, dog scientists, and food and beverage. You can catch shuttles from/to the Austin Convention Center starting at 1:30.
For more information: http://bxbw.eventbrite.com/
UPDATE: Download the P5 App | Help a Pet in Need
To raise awareness of their P5 dog training app during SxSW, Purina Pro Plan will donate $1 for every download of the P5 app during the conference (March 8th-March 17th 2013). You can use the hashtag #greatdog to amplify awareness of this great cause. Purina Pro Plan will donate a maximum of $50,000 to the nationwide Rally to Rescue pet adoption organization.
UPDATE 2: Event recap video!
Disclosure: I'm being compensated to participate in these activities, just like I am for every speech I give. That said, no amount of money is going to make a dog run faster, jump higher, or more obedient.