The Dog Whisperer Writes in Scene: Literary Lessons from the Dog Training Trenches

Wayward Writers

My partner and I have been consuming a lot of dog-related self-help recently, books and reality shows and podcasts with titles like LEAD THE PACK, WE ARE THE KNIGHTS WHO SAY ‘SHHHHT!’ and BRAINWASH YOUR MINI-PINI WITH HOTDOG SLICES.

cesar-real-story-copyAfter nearly four years locked into amazingly cheap rent in a no-pets apartment, we will be moving to newer, doggier horizons in San Diego and must gird ourselves for a life as dog owners. Or so we excuse our obsession. Because the interesting thing about these books is that while they are about dogs, they are also about dog-as-metaphor.

The books describe a dog-human power dance, maintained by consistent acts of physical assertion. For instance, I’ve rewritten three dog-human scenarios from my research as human-doggish human scenarios (in which I play human and you play the doggish human):

  • We meet for the first time at a party. I ignore our friend’s…

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