Dog Rules

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What the Dogs Have Taught Me

I. Mealtime

1. Just because there does not seem to be anything visible around to eat certainly does not mean there is nothing around to eat. The act of staring at the underside of a table or chair on which someone else is eating sets in motion a chain of events that eventually results in food.

2. It goes without saying that you should carefully check the lower third of any space for edibles. Mouth-sized things which cannot be identified by sight or smell are considered gum.

3. When you actually receive a meal, submerge your head into it as you would a shower. Never, never look up again until a minimum of at least fifteen minutes after the obvious food is gone. This is important. Just because your dish is empty does not mean that it is time to stop eating.

4. Remember that all food is potentially yours up until the time that it is actually swallowed by another. The lengthy path a piece of food will take from a plate to a mouth via a hand is as good a time as any to stake your claim to it.

5. When it comes to selecting an appropriate beverage, location and packaging mean nothing. There are absolutely no exceptions to this rule.

6. If you really see something you want, and all your other attempts at getting it have failed, it is only right to grovel shamelessly. As a second tactic, stare intently at the object of your desire, allowing long gelatinous drools to leak like icicles from your lower lip.

II. Everything Else

1. There are really only two important facial expressions to bother with: complete and overwhelming joy and nothing at all.

2. Any time that is not meal time is potentially nap time. The best time to take a nap is when you hear your name being called repeatedly. The best location for a nap is dead center of any street or driveway. The most relaxing position is on your side, all four limbs parallel.

3. The most practical way to get dry is to shake violently near a fully clothed person. A second effective method is to stand on a light-colored piece of furniture.

4. Personal Safety

A. At the first hint of any irregular noise, run from room to room yelling loudly. If someone actually comes into the house, rush over to them whether you know them or not. Then kiss them so violently that they lose their balance or have to force you away physically.

B. The greatest unacknowledged threat to life as we have come to know it is squirrels. No matter what you must do, make sure there are none in your yard.

5. Recreation and Leisure

A. Ball: There are two equally amusing sets of rules you will want to know.

a. The Common Form, in which you receive a thrown ball and return it.

b. The Preferred Form, in which you receive a thrown ball and eat it.

B. Car: As you know, any open car door is an invitation to get in. Once inside, your only goal is to try to get out.

6. Health

In the event of a trip to the doctor, always be on your guard. If you are vaccinated, urinate on the physician.

Since I have taken to sleeping under the bed, I have come to know tranquility I never imagined possible. You never really know when it might be cookie time. And that's what the dogs have taught me.


1. After your humans give you a bath, DON'T LET THEM TOWEL DRY YOU! Instead, run to their bed, jump up and dry yourself off on the sheets. This is especially good if it's right before your human's bedtime.

2. Act like a convicted criminal. When the humans come home, put your ears back, tail between your legs, chin down and act as if you have done something really bad. Then, watch as the humans frantically search the house for the damage they think you have caused. (Note: This only works when you have done absolutely nothing wrong.)

3. Let the humans teach you a brand new trick. Learn it perfectly. Then the humans try to demonstrate it to someone else, stare blankly back at the humans. Pretend you have no idea what they're talking about.

4. Make your humans be patient. When you go outside to go 'pee', sniff around the entire yard as your humans wait. Act as if the spot you choose to go pee will ultimately decide the fate of the earth.

5. Draw attention to the human. When out for a walk always pick the busiest, most visible spot to go 'poo'. Take your time and make sure everyone watches. This works particularly well if your humans have forgotten to bring a plastic bag.

6. When out for a walk, alternate between choking and coughing every time a strange human walks by.

7. Make your own rules. Don't always bring back the stick when playing fetch with the humans. Make them go and chase it once in a while.

8. Hide from your humans. When your humans come home, don't greet them at the door. Instead, hide from them, and make them think something terrible has happened to you. (Don't reappear until one of your humans is panic-stricken and close to tears).

9. When your human calls you to come back in, always take your time. Walk as slowly as possible back to the door.

10. Wake up twenty minutes before the alarm clock is set to go off and make the humans take you out for your morning pee. As soon as you get back inside, fall asleep. (Humans can rarely fall back asleep after going outside, this will drive them nuts!)


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