Over the last few weeks, I’ve read several books on raising a dog, watched a few videos, and listened to a whole lot of advice. What I have learned in just a short time is that most of what it takes to make a dog happy and loyal can be broken down to things that are pretty intuitive, and you don’t need to read the Monks of New Skete to figure it out:
1.) Love your dog.
2.) Set a food and sleep schedule and stick to it, and maintain consistent behaviors around your dog.
3.) Walk your dog. Lots.
If you do those three main things, things generally work out ok (at least they have for me)- the rest is nipping around the borders. That isn’t to say it is all useless, just I think the three things I listed above are the big ones, and will be apparent to most people.
Where the advice is really helpful is when it addresses the non-intuitive things. Things like- a harness is probably better for a small dog, use a 6′ lead instead of one of those annoying retracting ones, which kinds of dog food are actually poison and what kinds are good, etc. Things that unless you have direct experience with a dog, you would never know.
Here is one of those things I know nothing about- fleas. Lily apparently has fleas, and I don’t know how to get rid of them. I know there is stuff you can drop between the shoulder blades, one friend swears by something called Frontline, my mother and father swear by stuff called “Natural Chemistry,” and I’ve had a whole bunch of stuff thrown at me and I don’t know how to evaluate, but I do want to get this flea thing under control before the house is infested an Tunch is scratching himself.
So what do I do? Should I get a flea collar? What shampoo should I get, or should I? And so forth.