Fun Summer Read

As part of the "Self Hurt" series, the title attracted me- How to Have an Ill Behaved Dog.

After adopting a dog from the shelter in May, I wouldn't have been the least bit interested in a typical dog obedience manual. This one, however, takes the monotony out of the genre with an off beat approach. It states the obvious in a sarcasm that is funny and creative. Among other things, it suggests that friends really don't find the stories about your IBD (ill behaved dog) very interesting, and what's more, they probably find your dog's crotch-sniffing offensive.

The theme seems to be that most of us choose chaos-- to be controlled by our dogs. We sink to their basic level of physical, health, and belonging needs while ignoring their needs (and ours) for consistent boundaries. The other thing the book points out is the poor planning we use in choosing a dog to fit our perceived emotional needs rather than finding one that will make a good fit with our family and life style.

Especially if you're looking at future dog ownership or if you're a new owner, you'll enjoy and benefit from this book. The best nugget was the explanation as to why dogs usually learn to bark and growl at mail carriers. It's because their racket is always reinforced by the fact that the mail person's departure quickly follows their bellowing. Of course, it's because of the din of the dog that makes the post person leave.

BTW, other interesting titles in the series include how to get fat, procrastinate, traumatize your children, etc.

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