Two dogs ago, our pup attended school for juvenile delinquent canines. I figured that if it worked out well, I might send the kids or the husband who also fail to fetch the newspaper on cold mornings.
We first suspected that Rexy needed schooling in the fine art of Listening to the Master when we took him for a fun romp outdoors and he immediately ran off to locate a fascinating scent in the bushes. We yelled, “Rexy, no!” and “Rexy, come!” and even “Rexy, cease and desist this instant and return to us now or we’ll feed you to our parrot!” But our words did little more than entertain the neighbors.
It’s not as if we hadn’t tried to train the dog on our own. Indeed, inside the house he had become very obedient. But a brilliant deduction on my part explained why: the box of reward biscuits was within smelling range.
Taking a dog to obedience school is well worth the money, especially if you enjoy a good laugh. Even if you have no dog, I suggest you borrow one or dress up your cat in a dog disguise.
When Rexy went to dog school, all the humans stood in a large circle with their pets straining to sniff the odors that had accumulated during previous classes. While the instructor demonstrated how to make a dog sit quietly at his left ankle, Rexy bound my legs together with his leash. I had trouble paying attention because I was too busy trying to stay upright and at the same make it look like my dog was as obedient as the teacher’s pet.
Rexy was thinking, Look at that mop-head pup over there. Look at that sissy hair-do. I bet I could undo that do with one swipe of my slobbery tongue.
Then he noticed a large mongrel glaring at him with a look that meant he’d better respect his Doberman parentage or else. Rexy analyzed the situation and decided, I can show him who’s tougher. All I need is one opportunity to bite him on the knee-cap.
“Sit, Rexy,” I commanded.
And let these other dogs know I can be submissive? Hah! I mean, woof!
After 10 sessions and much wondering about the IQ level of our dog, a few lessons finally took hold. I learned:
- My dog is no more disobedient than other people’s dogs.
- My dog is no more intelligent than other people’s dogs.
- “Sit” means “find a spot when you’re good and ready.”
- “Stay” means “crawl on your belly to sneak to where you’d rather be.”
- Dog training is more about the dog-owner than the dog.
I gave up the idea of obedience classes for our two-legged family members. I’ve come to realize that we humans are no better than dogs at obeying our Master. How often do we ignore God’s commands because we’re too busy sniffing out other people’s problems and differences? Or running off in our own direction? I suppose we make God wonder about our IQ levels — especially since his instructions are designed to make our lives better.
God does not to force us to attend obedience school. I, on the other hand, am forcing Rexy to stay when I say “stay.” And it’s working. As long as we’re near the dog biscuits.
Reflection questions for family discussion:
Why do we sometimes ignore the commands of God? Why is it better to obey God when we feel like doing something else?
Come Holy Spirit and increase in us a better awareness of why your commands are beneficial to us, to others and to You. Help us to resist the temptation to do things our own way when it conflicts with Your ways.
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© 2017 by Terry Modica of Good News Ministries