“How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend”

by the MONKS OF NEW SKETE

Today was extremely soggy and cold, and Charley didn’t want to be outside. I had taken her out and she turned around and walked right back in. I decided to take advantage of this rare occasion when she didn’t want to tackle the morning and the hour I set aside for her, so I decided to go to my favorite book store, TWICE SOLD TALES and look (yeah right) at what was going on.

It’s a dangerously delicious guilty pleasure of mine that I covet any time I have lots and lots of spare time. I will save a big junk of the day and mark it as a TO Do on my list. I get swallowed up at a book store, especially this book store. It has I believe 3, maybe more, cats that roam around, adding to the ambience of this little house-turned-book store that has bookshelf after bookshelf of all kinds of books. The cats are very friendly but know their manners.

A sign on the front door says “Please make sure the door is shut so the cat’s can’t escape.” Or something like that.

They also have these little stools and step-ups that people can sit on while browsing the books or just browsing the contents. There are some aisles with stacks of books on the ground and lined up atop the book cases adding to the ever treasure hunt for the right book. Two hours can go by soooo amazingly quick for me.

One of my favorite thing is to look at the dollar rack that sits outside the front door after walking up the ramp. She (the owner=her name escapes me at the moment) will change the racks twice a day and put out random books. Some paperback, others hard covered cook books or instruction manuals and best sellers. I had picked up A Humphrey Bogart autobiography and a Spencer Tracy’s movie guide for a buck last time I was there.

This time the theme of the rack seemed to be significantly about dog’s behavior, TRAINING YOUR DIFFICULT DOG, or IT’S NOT A DOG’S FAULT, and BAD DOG =BAD OWNER, something like that. But this one caught my eye, “HOW TO BE YOUR DOG’S BEST FRIEND.” I pulled it out from between all the other dog books and took a look at it. It talks about friendly punishment, such as putting your dog on its back to show who is the dominant one or speaking seriously to the dog while petting the chin in a slow deliberate way instead of yelling when they’ve done something they shouldn’t have, but the most important thing for me was the communication one and “Can a dog live in the city?” This is all covered in this book. The jacket cover says;

The monks of New Skete advocate the philosophy that “understanding is the key to communication, compassion, and communion” with your dog. Now they have prepared this guide to understanding your dog – whether it is a new puppy or an old companion – and thereby deepening your relationship with your pet. ….”will tell you how to select a dog to fit your lifestyle and where to find it, how to read a pedigree, how and when to train, about the proper use of praise and discipline, how to feed and care for your dog, about dogs and protection, and about dog behavior problems and how to correct them…..there are specific chapters on city, suburban, and country dogs. There is even a chapter on how to deal with the death of a pet.”

The Monks of New Skete HOW TO BE YOUR DOG’S BEST FRIEND, A TRAINING MANUAL FOR DOG OWNERS

I had to get it. I browsed it a bit and it seems it is taking a whole different way of training and understanding your dog. I mean, look at the cover. I would love it if Charley would just kick it with me like that.

But actually, to be quite frank, Charley is so damn smart that I think she has me beat. Every time I think I’ve got her figured out, she one ups me. And sometimes she doesn’t always listen. She’s stubbornly stubborn. And head strong. I told her the other day, “OK. You win. Whatever. You win.” Super scary smart is what I say.

So we’ll see. Right now she is doing everything to get me away from the computer. Her and Stella. Stella is doing what cats do…..invade the keyboard.

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