In L.A. Knight’s debut novel, Dog Training the American Male, the author spins a tale of a frustrated career woman who uses dog-training techniques to domesticate her live-in boyfriend.
“Men really are dogs,” Knight says. “The average American male would rather sit on the couch all day, scratch his privates, and sleep. Who among us hasn’t performed for a treat, peed on a tree, dry-humped a woman’s leg, howled at the moon, stuck his nose in a groin or two, or inspected his own bowel movement before flushing?”
Presumably, Knight isn’t looking for a sincere answer to his question. His story hangs on the premise that a trained dog is a more content pet, and his novel riffs on America’s 21st century preoccupation with fixing everything – and everyone – in sight. Guys, he surmises, will do better with a little “training.”
“I say, bring it on,” comments Knight on dog-training the American male. “Just go easy on the electric shock collar.”
A promotional video (youtube.com/watch?v=FU3CU4UernM&feature=youtu.be) obscures the fact that Knight’s book is fiction, perhaps because self-help books tend to sell better than novels these days and features amusing references to dog feces and the heroine’s beau “burying his bone in another’s woman’s yard.” Like this internet commercial, the novel’s press kit proclaims it “hilarious,” but what’s really funny is the author’s assertion that he “received offers from several major publishing houses for Dog Training, as well as interest from a screenwriter to adapt the novel as a script,” yet opted instead to debut his first novel as an e-book. That’s because it is better to pay to have your book published, and be hung with the responsibility of promoting and selling it, than to allow a major publisher to pay you an advance and do the heavy lifting for you.
Even an old dog won’t be fooled by that new trick.