Monday, March 20, 2006

Man's Best Overlord

Someday I will post about something other than my dog. Today isn't that day.

One of the things I learned when I was researching breeds was that Australian Shepherds are smart dogs. More than one article warned that they could out-think their owner. Now, while I understand that it's a good thing to include in an article that one is ostensibly going to read prior to plunking down anywhere from $500-$1200 for a purebred dog, it's also the sort of information that will lead someone who considers herself to be forearmed (like me) to wonder if her puppy is engaged in a scheme to undermine her.

Is my dog smarter than I am? Ye gods, I hope not. He's fifteen weeks old and completely entranced by squeaky toys. I hold a Master's Degree from The George Washington University.

And yet, I have to wonder: how does this game of mental chess begin? Is my dog using me to get what he wants, and I'm too dim to realize it? Maybe it starts with the realization that Sitting Patiently By the Door means that, yes, he'll be brought outside (as, in our house, that is Dog for "OMG I Gotta Pee!!"), which then leads to the dog sitting by the door every time it wants to be let outside, thereby throwing the owner into a quandry -- does he really mean it? Does he really have to go, or is this going to turn into the owner standing in the yard while the dog in question trots around, sniffing every blade of grass, but producing nothing.

Is the owner stupid if s/he falls for this ruse? I don't think so -- it just means s/he isn't of a mind to clean up a mess.

What I'm worried about is whether this trick (which, yes, Darwin does pull) will lead to larger, more grandiose canine manipulations. Will I start discovering unusual charges on my credit card and slobber on my mousepad? Is he asking to be taken for a walk just so the cats can indulge in whatever nefarious deeds are lurking about in their frighteningly complex and occasionally evil feline brains? Underneath the chasing (Darwin) and hissing (Bronte and Kisa), is there an unholy alliance brewing that will result in humanity bowing and scraping before three furry overlords?

Actually, it would be two furry overlords, as Kisa is sweet, but her scratching post doesn't go all the way to the top. Bronte, however, knows how to open doors, and is perilously close to figuring out how to turn on the kitchen faucet.


Blogger Mark Pettus said...

If I understand your concern, it is that you are being trained?

I've only one thing to say to that.


I thik there is a writers conference in Jax next week, and another book conference in May. Are you planning on attending either?

March 23, 2006 3:14 PM  
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