Today, the canine population of the United States is about fifty million. Out of this, about fifty million can be classified as neurotic--a conservative estimate.
--How to Live with a Neurotic Dog
How to Live with a Neurotic Dog, first published in 1988, was written by Stephen Baker. In 1994, the book was rereleased and published by Wings Books, a division of Random House Value Publishing, Inc. In the 1994 edition, quite a few line drawings are included, drawn by Fred Hilliard.
While How to Live with a Neurotic Dog is a humoristic book, its author, Stephen Baker, is quite an accomplished writer. He is the author of 21 books, eleven being in the humor genre, like How to Be Analyzed by a Neurotic Psychoanalyst, and ten being professional works, such as Advertising Layout and Art Direction.
Written in a style similar to that of Dave Barry, How to Live with a Neurotic Dog contains eleven chapters, which thoroughly cover dealing and living with a neurotic dog. They are as follows:
Chapter 1: What Makes a Dog Neurotic?
"...Quietly but with remarkable efficiency, dog fights his battle against man. In the process he often becomes neurotic. So does his owner."*
Chapter 2: Training the Neurotic Dog
"'You can't teach an old dog new tricks' is only true in part. You can't teach new tricks to a young dog either."*
Chapter 3: Sleeping Habits of the Neurotic Dog
"No dog likes to share his bed with another person, but given no choice he will try his best to cope. Some people consider a dog a strange bedfellow; all dogs consider people that."*
Chapter 4: How to Dress and Groom the Neurotic Dog
"It is important that your pet keeps up with the dictates of fashion. Nothing is more embarrassing to a dog than appearing in public in last year's outfits.... Nothing can be more upsetting to them than going out and having nothing to wear."*
Chapter 5: Traveling with the Neurotic Dog
"Ideally suited to the emotional needs of the traveling dog is the backseat of the car, where he can stretch out."*
Chapter 6: Feeding the Neurotic Dog
"Dogs eat because of insecurity. Experience tells them we might eat what belongs to them before they get a chance, a situation that comes up especially when food is put on the dining table."*
Chapter 7: The Neurotic Dog vs. Baby
"One of the most traumatic experiences in a dog's life is the arrival of a baby in the family.... It soon becomes apparent to a dog that what's taking place shouldn't happen to a dog. Everything tells him that somebody else is getting all the attention!"*
Chapter 8: The Neurotic Dog and Your Cat
"Next to the human infant, dog's greatest natural enemy is Felis domesticus, also known as pussycat."*
Chapter 9: How to Play with a Neurotic Dog
"Dogs do not like to play alone. They prefer having company and letting someone else do the work."*
Chapter 10: Analyzing the Neurotic Dog at Home
"Dogs make cooperative patients; they may actually enjoy the experience. In no time at all they sink into a state of semiconsciousness, also known as sleep. Analysis is, of course, a slow, tedious process, and success should not be expected overnight. The length of treatment may vary anywhere from ten to twenty years, depending on your dog's lifespan."*
Chapter 11: Can the Neurotic Dog Be Cured?
While How to Live with a Neurotic Dog is a relatively short book (less than 100 pages), it stands out from the rest because of its sharp yet subtle humor. Anyone owning a dog, especially of the small, yappy variety, can definitely appreciate this novel.
*Taken from How to Live with a Neurotic Dog.
How to Live with a Neurotic Dog, Stephen Baker, Wings Books, (c)1988