One day last January I came in the house after cleaning the snow off my car only to find the family room in total disarray.  “What was the commotion in here while I was outside?” I asked my loquacious lovebird Pavo Rotti.

“Phydeaux your puckish poodle was in a good mood again Big Guy.  He was licking himself, running in circles, having a great time.  Sorry about the furniture.  I hope nothing’s broken.”

“That’s okay Pavo.  It can be fixed.  But that’s an unusual display of energy for Phydeaux.  What put him in such a good mood.”

“There was a great program on TV about obedience school Big Guy.  I think you left it on by accident when you were looking around for your snow shovel.  Phydeaux stopped by to watch because he’s sick of those dull, boring shows about the sex lives of wildebeests on PBS.  I think it was something he could finally identify with.”

“But he’s already been to obedience school,” I said righting an overturned hassock.

“Yeah.  But he said the refresher training was good for him. He made believe he was exercising in one of those midnight infomercials.  When they did steps on the screen, he did steps.  When they ran in tight circles, he chased his tail until he got dizzy.  When they danced to the music, he bopped along until his hips hurt.  When they fell in line, he acted like he was the drum major in a parade.  He said it was great being able to respond without thinking about it.”

“This wasn’t that English lady who was so popular on the telly a few years ago was it?  The one who taught old dogs new tricks?”

“I don’t think so Big Guy.  But I couldn’t tell.  I didn’t see the first part of the program. I was busy reading the paper on the bottom of my cage.  And when Phydeaux came across the program he got so enthusiastic he knocked my portable TV sideways.  All I could do after that was listen.  But it sounded like a school for new dogs.  Yuppie puppies I’d guess.  Phydeaux watched and said they all looked pretty well groomed.  But he also said they were young and clumsy, as if they’d never had any formal training.  Before the program began there was a lot of sniffing and slobbering and jumping all over one another.  But it sounded like it was all in good fun.”

“I’d guess from all the noise that it was pretty informal Pavo.”

“Phydeaux said it was like a big family picnic.  Lots of relatives hanging around.”

“That’s understandable Pavo.  Most puppies are natural born showoffs.  It’s genetic.  All part of being a good pup.  They love to strut their stuff for friends and relatives.  Most times they don’t even care how silly they look.  Cats would never act that way.”

“But it ended when the trainers took over Big Guy.  First they were taught to sit.  Then they were made to look smart while being brought to heel.  Then how to roll over.  Finally they were taught to sit and speak on command.  There was even someone there to whip them into shape.  In no time at all, the trainers had them on short leashes.  After that it was work, work, work and no more play.

“But before I went outside I could hear a lot of yipping and yapping in the background.  Sounded serious.  What was going on?”

“Phydeaux said there were some big old mutts in there when the young pups came in Big Guy.  The old dogs got displaced and didn’t like it.”

“I’d say that from all the snarling I heard Pavo, it was more than a simple territorial dispute?”

“No question about it.  I’d guess the old dogs thought they owned the territory and got a little anxious when the newcomers arrived.  Realized they were about to lose their kennels and runs.  Favorite trees and mailbox posts too.  And you know how territorial dogs can be about squatting or lifting their legs.”

“But how did they get them settled down?”

“The last thing they did was have some kind of dog show and declare a winner.”

“What was the outcome Pavo?”

“Actually Big Guy, I’m not sure.  But Phydeaux said there was a bleary-eyed, sheepdog that seemed to have won all the prizes.  There was no question that he was the top dog because there was a lot of bowing and applauding every time he barked. And when he whined, they all paid attention. And he did plenty of that.  The last thing he did was lead them in a grand finale, a kind of parade around the ring to demonstrate how well they worked together.”

“You sound like you were impressed by what you heard Pavo.  What happened at the end?”

“Beats me Big Guy.  That’s when Phydeaux stepped on the remote and shut it off.  I never did hear what happened after that.”

I picked up the remote from the floor near his cage and hit the “on” button.  C-Span came to life on the screen.  There was a lot of milling about but nothing seemed to be going on so I picked up the Channel guide.  To my surprise I couldn’t find a program listing an obedience class for dogs but I did find the schedule for the day.  It was a calendar for the opening meeting of the newly elected House of Representatives.


About D. B. Guy

ex-traveler, ex-Navy vet, ex-depression baby, long time retiree, current lounge chair occupant, husband, grandfather, computer novice-junkie, man-about-town(ret.), jolly good fellow
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5 Responses to Obedience

  1. Jean says:

    Dear D.B. Guy,

    I very much enjoy your blog and adventures with your Pal Pavo. It is talented and skillful writing. Whenever I feel the need to have my spirits lifted in these wacky times, I know I can come visit with you both for some smiles and a few chuckles.

    My French poodle, Phyfee sends your dog her greetings. “Bon jour, Phydeaux, mon cher nouveau ami!” BTW, what breed is he?

    Aloha! 🙂 Namaste. Shalom.

    Auntie Jean

    • D. B. Guy says:

      Ah dear lady.

      Phydeaux as you might suspect is a French Standard. He, like my pal Pavo, is a favorite with the ladies. But he doesn’t want to deceive anyone as to his origin.
      He actually comes from Russia, the true family of what are today known as “French” poodles. He actually feels that they should be Russian poodles but that is not for me to decide.
      In truth, it was the French who turned poodles into servants when they made them retrieve waterfowl during hunting expeditions. That is why poodles wear those funny haircuts, did you know that?

  2. Jean says:

    Dear D. B. Guy,

    Thank you for your reply. I did not know that the French Standard breed of poodles actually came originally from Russia. Nor did I know that the French turned them into retrieving hunting servants.

    My Phyfee was also unaware of her lineage. I doubt she would believe it anyway. She seems to think we are HER servants! And as to her funny haircut. She is very vain about it and insists on visiting the dog groomer more often than I do the beauty salon. Sigh.

    I can see that both Pavo and Phydeaux are great ladies’ men. Phyfee has shown a keen interest in Phydeaux. She sniffs around the computer and whimpers in her decided French accent until I tell her about Phydeaux. I hope you will continue to give us more interesting information on him so she will stop pestering me. Not that she is ever satisfied with just one doggie treat.

    Aloha! 🙂 Namaste. Shalom!

    Auntie Jean

  3. Jean says:

    Mon Cher Monsieur Gui,

    Je suis dictating cette lettre to Mme. Jeanne to forward on to you and hopefully to votre chien, Monsieur Phydeaux. Mme. Jeanne non parle et ecrire pas Français tres bien. Si bien que, elle non comprendre pas que Français c’est la language de Romance et Haute Culture.

    S’il vous plait, convey mon sincère admiration for him and desire to make Monseur Phydeaux’ acquaintance mas directly. Vous could tell him pour moi que mon pedigree goes back to the court of Louee Quatorziême. Je have traveled extensively dans votre country avec Mme. Jeanne et elle epoux. Je non decide pas yet whether to remain ici ou return to La Belle France.

    Putre-etre Monsieur Phydeaux could illumine moi sur quelques chose auprès de votre country to ‘elp moi avec moi décision.

    Mme. Jeanne est mon secrétaire. Elle recevoire mon messages. Dans Francais, la nom “Jean” est “masculin.” Mon Dieu!!!! “Feminin” is “Jeanne”!!! Sacre Bleu!!!!!


    Mlle. Phyfee

    • D. B. Guy says:

      To Miss Phyfee via Mme Jeanne (or is it Mlle Jeanne?)

      Phydeaux is excited to hear from you. He says that despite our different origins and the fact that we don’t speak French, we always have Google translations to allow us to communicate

      Phydeaux sent this message along to you Miss Phyfee. He said, “Let me speak Frankly (a little pun there) Ne soyez pas dupe. Jeanne est une femme très intelligente. Elle en sait plus que vous pensez qu’elle sait. Elle est une dame de la haute culture et de la vertu, et ne sont pas dupes. Mais comme une bonne mère, elle est un entremetteur bonne.”

      In case you don’t understand, here is my Google translation.

      “Do not be fooled. Mme Jeanne is a very intelligent woman. She knows more than you think she knows. She is a lady of high culture and virtue, and is not fooled. But as a good mother, she is a good matchmaker too.”

      Phydeaux hopes you will stay in this country for a while and perhaps he will get a chance to meet you He has never met royalty before. Louis XIV? That is very impressive.”

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