9/8/2019 07:24

My Dog Is an Anarchist

My puppy and I like to go for walks around the city where we live. I walk along the sidewalk and Alek Dog goes to the left and to the right, to the tree and to the curb, lunging ahead and lagging behind. He walks more, stops more, is distracted more, is corrected more.

Why can't the dog can't stick with walking in the the direction that I'm going? I always and invariably walk in the direction that I am going, but the dog wanders left and right and must incessantly be redirected.

Here is the answer: This is not a question of constancy or of discipline but of power. I alone decide which way I am walking but the dog is required to adopt more or less faithfully the direction set by a different and more dominant being: me. If I decide to walk clockwise around the block, Alek must walk clockwise around the block. He compensates by employing his own initiative in smaller decisions about which tree to mark and which trash to smell.

My dog isn't really an anarchist; he prefers good order and reliable authority to ensure a stable life within which he can stray from side to side. In actual reality Alek wants to please, but he also wants to exercise independent volition. So he walks up the hill when I say to walk up the hill and walks to the west if I insist we walk to the west and he accepts that and does not object. But, as we go along, Alek assumes the independence to pick which trees and shrubs and views of squirrels matter most to him.