I once taught our family dog, Louie, a lesson and received two lessons in return.
When we got Louie we already had a cat that we’d nicknamed Weird Harold because she was, well, bat shit crazy.
Louie loved to chase Weird Harold around the living room, through the kitchen, and up the stairs. It drove me crazy.
Finally, I decided to teach Louie not to chase the cat. So, every time he took off after Weird Harold, I locked him in the tiny downstairs bathroom. Louie was loveable and loyal, but box-of-rocks stupid. Still, after about the sixth or seventh time, he learned. After he chased the Weird Harold the final time, Louie sauntered to the bathroom and waited to be locked up.
He had learned, but it was the wrong lesson. I understood then that it’s possible to teach one thing and have your ‘pupil’ learn something completely different.
So, I gave up and let him chase the cat.
A week later it hit me. Maybe Louie knew that if he were willing to go to the slammer, I’d give up.
And I learned my second lesson. When you’re not sure if the family dog has just outsmarted you, it’s best to remain humble in other things.