My heart sank like the Titanic when I spotted Johnny Smug and his smart-ass Australian schnoodle, Wonder during my evening dog walk. And as usual, when Smug caught sight of me in the distance, he immediately launched into The Show for all to behold, his fantabulous canine circus. From begging to rolling over to hoop jumping, Wonder performed like a seasoned Vegas star. And the more I witnessed this spectacle, the more I yearned to set my dog free...then push Smug off a cliff.
If you ask me, obedience is just a big con job to keep the serfs and dogs in check. Rise up, rise up, all ye downtrodden! Break free from the shackles of bondage. Don't follow orders, the same goes for your dog. After all, do you want a slave or a best friend?
Wonder leaped through the hoop again. That's when it hit me like a parking ticket on a Sunday morning -- I should write a book titled "A Genius's Guide to Dog Training." It would consist of two words in extra-large fonts, accompanied by pictures, and 250 blank pages for autographs, doodles and colouring. But let me whisper this to you, amigo: the entire text of my book would simply read, "Don't bother."
I firmly believe that dogs are meant to be companions, not mere obedient creatures performing stupid pet tricks to impress the yokels. Subservience? Nay, nay, nay. Loyalty, amigos, that's what truly matters.
Why must I be Master over my pooch, DJ? Am I building Stonehenge or digging moats around medieval castles that I need slaves? Am I so insecure that I have to reduce my dog to begging for a morsel of petrified liver just to stroke my own fragile ego? And why should anyone in their right mind listen to me?
Not a chance. I wholeheartedly believe in the concept of "intelligent disobedience." Some of the biggest blunders in my life were getting caught in the conventional wisdom trap. Don't become a magician, they said, be a dermatologist, (Make a bundle writing pimple cream prescriptions) and if that doesn't work, become a radiologist, (Make a bundle looking at a computer screen all day), and if that doesn't work, become an endodontist, (Drilling for gold), and if nothing else works, start your own business and never sleep through a whole night for the rest of your life.
I tried conforming, O Lord, I tried trekking down that beaten path. I even did obedience school with DJ. It was traumatizing. Take the "callback" command, for instance. "Come here," I would call, but DJ, had other ideas. He would pause at my command, turn his head towards this smoking-hot Afghan hound and shoot me a look that clearly meant, "Maybe later."
I ran into Johnny Smug and Wonder dog again. As expected, the dynamic duo did their show thing. A couple of 4-year-olds with bad haircuts and chocolate-smudged faces watched and clapped their sticky hands, but I swear, Wonder just looked depressed.
I dropped my leash and let DJ loose. He made a mad dash towards the schoolyard and attacked an old soccer ball with rapturous glee.
And it made me happy, and DJ even happier.