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What the Dogs Taught Me
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What the Dogs Taught Me

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  336 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Award-winning comedy writer Merrill Markoe, the slightly warped mind behind Stupid Pet Tricks, is an old hand with dogs. She knows who’s boss (they are) and the myriad ways a loving pet can make you feel guilty twenty-four hours a day. This new edition of Merrill Markoe’s classic collection of humorous essays gives readers the choicest selections along with brand-new mater ...more
Paperback, 274 pages
Published (first published May 1st 1992)
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Average rating 3.66  · 
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Mar 09, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While definitely interesting and entertaining, the actual parts about the dogs and what they've taught her are few and far between. Are they as funny as what she had to offer in Walking in Circles Before Lying Down? Sure. But I haven't enjoyed this book nearly as much, and I don't feel the need to keep it in my collection. When I stumbled across it in yet another Half Price Books store, I snatched it up, greedily, as I was currently gleefully devouring Walking in Circles.... I'm a bit disappoint ...more
Oct 21, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this just after reading a Jen Lancaster book, and nothing could have compared to that in the funny department. I found it mildly amusing at best. The really only entertaining stuff was about her dogs. I expected much more humorous stuff.
There are some definitely funny parts, but overall a lot of the humor is dated. The bits about her dogs are timeless as any pet owner can relate, but there is a lot of humor that is only funny for that time in the early 90s. Also, her humor on male/female interaction is overtly stereotypical at best and anti-feminist at worst.

It's funny... Just not that funny. My Pet Myself is the best chapter.
Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
All the essays about dogs are great. Unfortunately, there are a lot of other pieces. (Trivia: the famous ex is David Letterman!)

The humor is pretty dated, causing me to cringe in several places (although once I realized how old some of the essays actually were, a line about OJ Simpson went from hackneyed to shockingly prescient).

The dog stuff is good, though. Read the author’s novel Walking in Circles Before Lying Down for more of that.
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Some of the dog essays in this compilation were absolutely hilarious- specifically The Dog Diaries. Unfortunately there were many many more non-dog essays. Some were ok some just blah. Had there been more dogs I'm sure my rating would have been higher.
~Viral Reading 2020~

This collection is a throw back to a more innocent time: the 90s and very early aughts. And this book, while funny and witty, is strangely outdated. In less then three decades our world has dramatically changed geopolitically, politically within the US, technologically, culturally, ethically, economically, and now, health wise.

It's also geographically centered around Los Angeles and all the navel gazing that occurs in the entertainment-centered city, where women are still, al
Bridget Bailey
I thought this book was going to be all about the dogs and how they have taught this author so many valuable lessons, I thought wrong. This book was not at all what I expected and not as funny and humorous as I was led to believe it would be. I get that sometimes in some books portraying the dogs has being able to speak and have a conversation is funny but I did not find it funny at all in this book. She also goes on in some chapters to talk about things she has learned at random seminars and co ...more
Jul 23, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you want to read funny stories about dogs a better choice would be the book "What Your Dog Does Not Want You To Know", (I forgot the author) which is basically like humorous dog diaries of different types of dogs, loosely woven together. THIS book however, has only a few stories about dogs. The rest of them are what happens when Merrill Markoe decides to date someone, or go to a trendy club, or take some weird class like How To Be A Dominatrix....stuff like that.

A lot of times I will read a
Jan 03, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If the contents of this book included only the stories related to the portion of the title that comes before the colon, it may have earned a 4 or 5 star rating. I enjoyed Markoe's stories about her dogs, though I found it a bit disjointed, as the stories appear to be placed randomly, and I'm pretty sure dogs featured in later stories were noted to have died in earlier stories.
What annoyed me about the book were the non-dog stories. I bought the book, with the jumping dog on the cover, because I
Aug 30, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Granted, I just don't understand people who love dogs, but that aside, I was pretty underwhelmed by this book. I've been on a humorous-essays-by-women kick lately, and this was one of the less impressive collections I've read lately. (Again, perhaps I would have liked it a lot more if I bonded with the subject matter, so that may be partially my fault.) Although it provided a chuckle or two, overall I didn't feel that her insights into gender differences were very fresh or new, and I kept having ...more
Nov 21, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Knowing that the author is a real dog lover, and also that she has a quirky sense of humor I enjoy, I thought this would be a really fun book. Unfortunately, the title is quite misleading. Out of the 34 or so stories presented here, only about 4 or 5 have anything at all to do with dogs. The others are all over the map, about things like men, her experience at the Emmy awards, riding in limos, Las Vegas, etc etc etc. Some were pretty entertaining, others not so much. Oh well. When I picked up th ...more
This lady rocks. Like any book of essay-type things there were some real good ones and some sorta "meh" ones. All super topical and most of them are frighteningly still very applicable almost 15 years later.

My favorite was "The Day I Turned Sarcastic" but the wheat thins mention in "Home Alone" hit a little too close to home (as did most of this book).

After reading this I still like Merrill Markoe a lot but I DO blame her for somehow giving my dog the idea to tear up the carpet and eat the pad
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The sarcasm in this delightful book is over the top.
The dogs teach Markoe a great deal. She even learns when she is by herself. In the chapter "Look before you eat" she counsels us to avoid eating at places that have period interior decoration and waitstaff in costumes. Ok, it doesn't sound funny when I say it.....
Contrary to what the title would have you believe very few of the essays in this book have any thing to do with dogs. Merrill Markoe was a writer for the David Letterman show (stupid pet tricks), Sex and the City and has written several other books of humorous essays. I found some entertaining and some so-so, I did love the one where she recounts her dogs' chats with animal communicators. It's a nice break to read an essay or two while reading other more serious books.
Apr 03, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Misleading title. It had it's moments - The rants vary in quality and humor and can feel a bit dated because of all the au courant references, but still there were some chuckles. At times it felt like a Saturday Night Live sketch --- not knowing when to end it. I can see her being successful as a Letterman writer. This book can be read in short spurts a chapter at a time which is probably the best way to work your way through it.
Mar 08, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012

When a friend offered to lend me this book, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I read the foreword while sitting on a bus during a traffic jam and my hopes remained high. Hey! Dogs! I like dogs! I was looking forward to relating to canine hijinks.

I was let down, however, about a quarter of the way in when I realized that this book was less "what the dogs have taught me" and much more "and other things." The parts about her dogs were funny, you can keep the rest.
Apr 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone that likes a laugh and loves dogs
Recommended to Garfield by: I liked her previous book so ordered this one
I learned that I am not the only dog nut out there. Miss Markoe has some hilarious stories in this little book, most of them involving her pack of dogs. As a petlover and dogowner myself, it doesn't get much better then this. She has a great sense of humor and had me laugh out loud plenty of times. This is the second book of hers I've read after really liking the previous one.
Bookaday #10. Seems like I have read some of these bits before in this fast, humorous read. Had to chuckle at the chapter about Medieval Times - anyone else been there to celebrate their birthday wearing a blue princess hat? My skinned knees can testify to the truth of the chapter Zen and the Art of Multiple Dog Walking. Needs more dog chapters!!
Apr 21, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, comedy
This title is so misleading. I expected a collection of humorous essays and stories about dogs, and while there were some laugh out loud anecdotes in this book they were outweighed by non-dog stories. Meh.
Karren Bennett
Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book as a gift. I really looked forward to reading it since I love dog stories. I was disappointed that not all the stories (or even half of the stories) were about her beloved pets. But, nonetheless, I enjoyed reading it (even the non-dog stories) and will read more of her work.
Shannon Bailey
I found the dog parts to be spot on and hilarious. The social commentaries were good, but I would have liked them more had I read the book when it was published as the political humor would have been au courant. Would be interested in reading a current book to see her thoughts on today's world.
Dec 27, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A former writer for David Letterman (and his former flame!), Markoe is pithy, witty, and fun. This was a terrific, quick read. Lots of good stuff here.
Jan 22, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Funny book by a funny writer. I love dogs. She loves dogs. She used to be David Letterman's girlfriend. How could she go wrong?
Apr 19, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The dog parts, very funny. Other parts, just plain funny. If you are a guest at my house, this is on the bedside table in the guest room. Good to pick up and put down.
Aug 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just a wonderful collection of humorous essays - some even written from the POV of the author's dogs. Literally had me laughing out loud. Great for dog owners, or anyone who just needs a smile.
Aug 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sep 10, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If I hadn't been trapped in a hotel room on a rainy weekend without anything else to read, this would have made it to my abandoned shelf. any of her other books are better than this one
Nov 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was incredibly funny and was a quick, easy read.
Jun 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the chapters (What she learned) were better than others but overall I really liked it! (Of course, the chapters with her dogs were the best.)
Deborah Coates
Her brillance includes advancing the theory that no one ever gets out of eighth grade (you know it's true! Think how well it explains our current national discourse)
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An author, a television writer and a sometime standup comedienne.

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