Roxy is more Greyhound than German shepherd. For a second, as she bolts past the window, she looks like a small deer. All that amazing puppy energy seems to keep the girl in overdrive.
“Son,” I caution, “You’d better get this very tall and incredibly fast dog to either Obedience School or the Daytona 500. Her lack of interest in minding will cause you all kinds of heartache.”
“She can do some pretty cool tricks,” he says in her defense, “watch.”
How adorable. She can sit and shake paws and even sing a few bars of a dog song she made up. Retrieving a stick is a piece of cake. What she cannot do is stay home. No matter how well the fence is secured, there is no keeping dog-girl of Alcatraz in lock-up.
She sits patiently, noticing every step he takes to keep her confined. As soon as he leaves, she continues her Houdini routine and climbs over or through those pickets like an escaping jailbird. I can see the whole thing from my kitchen window.
Sometimes my Miss Kitty Pants watches too. Subscribing to the “dogs drool, cats rule” philosophy, she seems to look at me with feline disgust as if to say, “DOGS! You can’t live with’em, and you can’t take ‘em down.”
Canine training books say our pets are happier knowing exactly how they are expected to obey, but it takes investment of time and patience to reap the rewards of a well -behaved animal.
Lucy, my aging but compliant Golden Retriever, is eager to please. She is crushed to be admonished and often falls down in a heap of remorse that someone had to speak to her again about barking at the postal person.
Sometimes she wants to cross the street to pay a visit to the boy who chose her when he was nine. I simply say, “No, Lucy. Stay.”
She stops in her tracks and sits. It’s almost too easy.
Miss Roxy, on the other hand, careens out of the big house like a fire engine and heads straight for what she considers neutral territory. Not stopping to check for cars, she breaks world speed records, skidding to a stop at my feet, tattle-whining how her civil rights are being abused and if she was loved she would be allowed to shoot up and down the street all day like a rocket. Those big brown Bambi eyes are hard to resist, but I am on to her cute little tricks.
“You listen to me, you tall, gorgeous, smartest dog I ever met. I don’t care how well mannered you are about offering your paw or dancing for a treat, you are not obedient and it could cost you a very high price!”
She thinks I talk too much. I can tell, because she wheels around and chases a squirrel, and then a rabbit, and then a leaf. She has effectively clicked me to mute. It is obvious. Yapping will not get the job done.
In a dog with this much high energy and intelligence, obedience training is mandatory for her protection. Knowing exactly what is expected and how to submit could be a matter of life and death.
If we can apply that knowledge to our not-so-dumb animals, why can’t we do the same with our offspring? The out of control behavior of way too many youngsters suggests that parents do not know the importance of obedience in the rearing of these precious little ones.
When my son was four, his grandmother reminded him that God’s word says for children to obey their parents. She heard him mumble, “I wish they would just tear that page right out of the Bible!”
Even though Roxy is one adorable lanky pup who can fly like the wind, without obedience training she is headed for trouble. Sadly, she cannot learn it by herself. If she is not taught, my son will continue those wonderful cardiovascular workouts, dashing after her with the red leash and calling her name in vain. She will keep running just because she can.
Like my beautiful, grand-doggie neighbor, being exceptionally cute and having the ability to race straight and very fast does not mean we are heading in the right direction.
Remedial training would have a powerful and trickle-down effect on the behavior of all God’s children, big and small. It is worth the investment, and the payoff certainly exceeds a pat on the head.
The gospel truth: Obedience begins at home.
Acts 5:29 (NKJV)
But Peter and the other apostles answered and said, “We ought to OBEY God rather than men…”
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