I climbed onto my stationary bike for a little exercise the other morning, and it exploded.
    Iím not kidding. I turned on the power switch and there was a loud POP and then sparks started shooting out of the control box. The only exercise I got was lunging to unplug it before it burned down the entire house.
    The mystery didnít take long to solve. As I carefully kneeled down to inspect the smoldering control box, I could detect two unmistakable smells: 1) burning electrical wire, and 2) doggie pee.
    Sure enough, the stupidest dog in the world had struck again.
    We have two dogs, both little pugs. Lucy happens to be the smartest dog in the world, and Rocko, unfortunately, is the stupidest dog in the world. They make a fine team. Lucy provides a fine example of how to behave, and Rocko does the opposite.
    But this was too much. Ruining a $600 stationary bike with his superpowered urine was more than I could handle. I looked up from the smoldering bike and there was Rocko, about ten feet away and wagging his stubby little tail, oblivious as ever.
    I screamed his name. Showing that he does indeed have some brains, he headed the other way. Instead, I got my wife.
    Naturally, it was all my fault. "Donít punish him," she said. "Youíve got him totally confused about the doggie door."
    Let me make something clear. Rocko is not a puppy, nor is he 14 years old and unable to control his little bladder. Rocko is seven years old and in the prime of his demented life. He is the doggie equivalent of my age, and I donít blow up exercise machines with my urine.
    My wife was referring to how I punish Rocko when he decides to relieve himself in various areas of our home, which happens about once a week or so, just to keep us on our toes. I do it the old-fashioned way---shove his nose into his latest mess, scream "outside," and then throw him through the doggie door.
     "Youíre teaching him that the doggie door is a bad thing," explained my wife. "Heís relating the doggie door to punishment and will be reluctant to use it because it reminds him of being bad."
     Excuse me. This is the stupidest dog in the world we are talking about. Itís not very likely that he is analyzing much of anything. His reaction to being thrown through the doggie door is probably the same as everything else in his life---a great big dose of oblivion.
     I have to admit, though, that she had a point. Iíve been using my punishment technique for about six years now, and my success can be measured by, letís see, how about an exploding stationary bike? Or the Sony PlayStation he destroyed a couple of years ago? Or the latest invoice for drape cleaning?
    Maybe it is me. I still remember one of the most embarrassing moments in my life (and there have been many). It was about 20 years ago and we were renting a beautifully furnished home while the very proper owners of the house were temporarily living in England. But they came back for a visit, and naturally wanted to see how their lovely home was being cared for.
    I wandered through the house with the immaculately-dressed husband, pointing out some special items of care, and all was well. Finally, we wandered into their formal living room, and there in the middle of a very expensive shag carpet was the biggest doggie poop Iíd ever seen.
    Our dog Ralph, like Rocko, had apparently not absorbed the drift of my punishment techniques. And as always, I paid the price. The owners eventually came home from England a little sooner than originally planned. We were out.
    I was thinking about Ralph and his failure to learn while I tracked down Rocko to punish him for ruining my stationary bike. I finally cornered him and looked at his pug-like crumpled face. I briefly wondered if I had contributed to his features by years of shoving his face into the carpet to make sure he smelled his latest "accident."
     His tail wasnít wagging anymore. As I reached for him, he darted left, then right and then scampered past me. Next thing I heard was that unmistakable soundóthe flapping of the doggie door.
      Analyze that.

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