Whole Dog Journal's Blog October 3, 2011

I Think I’m Going to Have to Write a Book

Posted at 03:18PM - Comments: (7)

The good news: For each of the past two weekends, someone I know has come to my town from hundreds of miles away to adopt a dog from my local shelter. It’s not luck; it’s thanks to my relentless promotion of dogs I’ve met while volunteering – AND because I tell everyone I know who is looking for a dog that if they adopt from my shelter, they receive that dog’s lifetime of FREE “tech support” from me. 

The challenge: Actually finding the time to provide that promised support to new and somewhat inexperienced dog owners.

Just a few of the questions I’ve answered so far:

Why won’t she poop?

If he pees at 6:40 pm, but hasn’t pooped since this morning, should we let him loose in the house or does he have to go back in the crate?

How do I get her to pee on the side of the house that is dirt, rather than only the grass?

How soon can I take him for a long walk?

Does that stuff kill fleas, too? Because I just saw a flea on her!

Should the pet sitter/dog walker be bonded? Should I pass on this pet sitting company because they have a lot of employees and it might be a different walker every day?

How do I keep her out of the living room and dining room; I have an open floor plan and the entrances to these rooms are 20 feet wide!

My partner keeps telling the dog NO! How do I get him to stop that and “divert and distract” the dog -- without getting in a huge fight?

When will all those puppy teeth fall out? The adult teeth are already pushing in! Should I be brushing them every day?

How many treats a day are too many?

How many hours in a crate is too many? How soon can he graduate to being loose in the kitchen with the crate door open, without ruining his potty-training?

And of course: What kind of food should I buy?

It’s been an exhausting but good reminder of just how much inexperienced dog owners need to learn, fast, if they have a strong desire to do everything right in order to produce a happy, healthy, well-behaved forever member of the family. I keep finding myself looking up and sending articles to them, and copying advice from this email and pasting it in that one . . .

It finally occurred to me: I need to write a book for new dog owners, so I can just send them the book. Now, how am I going to find time to do that? Hmmm…

Comments (7)

For many years I have said that a book must be written that answers these types of questions AND must be GIVEN to new dog guardians at the time of adoption. I agree that there are some new dog owners who will seek out books of this type, but it's been my experience that many more will not. I suggest seeking funding from some of the big shots like HSUS so that these books can be made available for free to each any every shelter in the US. I don't think adopters are intentionally misguided and unaware, but I find in too many areas of the country, the prevailing thought is, 'they are just animals, they will be fine.' And we all know that often, that's not the case.

I have received WDJ for many years and in some cases it has been a LIFESAVER! My rottie-girl is 13 plus years old and, in spite of several auto-immune diseases and systemic and discoid lupus, I can attribute much of her longevity to the information gleaned from the journal. Her vet, a specialist in Internal Medicine and Oncology, is often surprised and delighted by some of the information in WDJ. Keep up the good work. No doubt, you are saving many lives.

Posted by: candymac | October 5, 2011 9:31 AM    Report this comment

Interesting...to the question about blocking off wide open spaces...I don't know how adventurous the puppy is...but we have some wider areas, and I needed a puppygate when travelling (yes I took her!) to block off part of the hotel room that had things she could have gotten in trouble with...just for my peace of mind when going out briefly. Although my puppy is very smart...this worked: I bought foam core boards used for displays at the craft or art supply store...and used packing or duct tape to attach them together to get length. There is one version that is a tri-fold,and the two halves fold into the center...and I taped two of those together...it folds up easily the way I did it, and slips into my trunk for a light weight answer. Of course if you have a chewer...you never know if they'd find a way to chew on that...but my little one has left it alone. In the hotel room I stretched it out from one wall to the other at the end of the rooms hallway...and then put the desk chair against it so it had some support to stay put.

Posted by: robin r | October 4, 2011 11:35 PM    Report this comment

How about a tech support web site that answers specific questions in real time. I use Dog Star daily and have two bookcases full of book but things pop up and this could be a business venture for someone. Look at the woman who started Petfinder.com. She was only trying to help shelter dogs by organizing shelter organizations on the web and her site sold for a ton of money. My dogs and I are a work in progress and despite many classes and trainers we are still finding our place in the world. (LOTS of dog reactivity with both of them).

Posted by: MARY KAY S | October 4, 2011 6:52 PM    Report this comment

There are numerous books out there, many available at your local library, and the reference material on the internet is exhaustive.

Responsible owners ARE going to look for the information they need, and from more than one source.

I would like to see more information on SELECTING a dog. What to look for, the dogs body language, how to test for RG issues, and what to look for to determine if the dog fits your life style. Outgoing, relaxed, mellow.

A book on that would be great...not many out there.

Posted by: SANDRA M | October 4, 2011 5:55 PM    Report this comment

There are many puppy raising books, but certainly room in the market for more! Sometimes you have a specific question, as listed above, that the books don't answer. Or the index is bad. That kind of thing.

Maybe you should call it "Tech support"? ;)

Posted by: TheElkaAlmanac | October 4, 2011 2:09 PM    Report this comment

There are already some books on care/training of puppies/dogs. When I got my Papillon puppy, I purchased the "Puppies for Dummies" book. It REALLY helped me set up the feeding and potty schedules and let me know what to expect at the different stages of puppyhood. My Papillon is now well behaved and trained; we do dog agility together. Also, when I got another puppy, a miniature Australian shepherd this time, I consulted the book again to refresh my memory, so house training and basic manners training were a breeze. The Aussie surprised me about one thing -- he is allergic to chicken! Once that was settled and I fed strictly non-chicken dog food and vitamins, he is healthy and happy and playing successfully with my Papillon.

Posted by: margeam | October 4, 2011 12:55 PM    Report this comment

What a great idea Nancy! Both writing a book and the free tech support! Wow! What a deal...
I love the editorals you write. It feels very personal. Like a conversation with me. Short enough for my limited attention span. I started my new relationship with Tucker my resue dog 3 years ago reading WDJ... I adopted him a little before you adopted your dog and they look very much alike which is fun. I hadn't had a dog for a very long time. I knew little about training. I took a pet dog manners class and read and practice what I am learning. I wish I had been as well prepared when I was raising my children. (What an understatement that is and a whole other story!) I feel so positive and competent finally. Thanks to the info and support from WDJ, the rescue group where I found Tuk, and the class, and the books I get from WDJ and trainers who write for you. Oh, and my vet because I know better questions to ask I think. And my health food store for pets.Thank you. Thank you Nancy,
sincerely Linda Gleason

Posted by: Linda G | October 4, 2011 12:47 PM    Report this comment

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