MY DOGíS DUMBER
THAN YOUR DOG
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
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
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
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
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
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.