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Tao of Puppies

Tao of Puppies
How to Raise a Good Dog Without Really Trying
by Krista Cantrell
The Lyons Press, 2004.

Find your "inner puppy" before you take a dog into your life, this book advises. Meditate on your lifestyle, your interests, what you are looking for in a dog and how it will mesh with your needs, and then listen to your intuition. Allow the subtle knowing of tao, an inner knowledge, to inform your decisions and you will know when to select which puppy and there will be no doubts.

"Working with the canine brain is the key to raising a good dog," writes Krista Cantrell in this unusual puppy-training manual. "Every time a puppy barks, runs away, chews, digs, sits, heels, cowers, jumps, or bites, you see the result of what she thinks. Dogs think, decide, and act."

Cantrell encourages dog owners to exercise their intuition as they house-train and shape the behavior of their puppies. She offers a series of step-by-step instructions for teaching a puppy to sit, lay down, come, stay, walk, find a target, bark, stop barking, and more.

"When you follow tao, work with a puppy's strongest drives, not against them. A rottweiler that is weak in pack drive and strong in prey drive resists any attempts to physically force her to 'sit.' Respect her inner nature and work with her prey drive by teaching her to 'fetch.' Then use the toy to lure her into a 'sit.' After she sits, reward her by throwing the toy so she can fetch it."

Cantrell's manual offers dozen of similar anecdotes and exercises to address almost any situation a dog owner will face while raising a puppy. 

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Tao of Puppies
Tao of Puppies

Raising a Puppy, 
Growing in Tao

     We need puppies to remind us to be mindful during daily life: washing dishes, eating a sandwich, walking to the mailbox, or playing ball. Puppies don't take anything for granted. We must pay full attention or the banana bread that we left cooling on the counter suddenly disappears, never to be seen again. 

Puppies allow us to experience the immediacy of life and not let it pass us by without recognition. Our inner wisdom grows as we look and listen for our dao teachings. 

Words cannot describe tao, but puppies, in their infinite ability to teach us, reveal tao and show us the way to joy.

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