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By Gary Bogue
Monday, July 9th, 2007 at 8:52 am in dogs.

Basic Rules for Dogs Who Have a Yard to Protect
When I published “Basic Rules For Cats Who Have a House to Run” here on June 27, I told you to be on the lookout for a set of our Lady Dog’s “Basic Rules for Dogs Who Have a Yard to Protect,” and for those people who think rules are for the birds, a set of my old cockatoo Lottie’s “Basic Rules for Birds Who Have a Cage to Maintain.” Well, here are the Dog Rules. The Bird Rules will be flying in soon. Watch for them.

(The information below is from a column I wrote on June 4, 1995.)

Back in the 1980s, my long-deceased Siamese, Isis (bless her black little soul), published a list of “Basic Rules for Cats Who Have a House to Run.” This hilarious and thought-provoking list was so well-received (feral cats from as far away as Australia requested copies), I decided to compile a similar list for dogs. It wasn’t easy.

One minute I was down on my knees interviewing and rubbing noses with a near-sighted Chihuahua, and the next I’d be hanging from a tree, discussing attack protocols with a vociferous pit bull.

But finally, after two years of research, 33 flea baths and 29 new pairs of pants, I have compiled a list of “Basic Rules for Dogs Who Have a Yard to Protect.”

Please share it with your family pet. If he or she has any additions or corrections to the list, you can have them drop me a note at

Before passing this information along to your dog, I suggest you read it carefully, and make yourself a copy. It couldn’t hurt.

Basic Rules for Dogs Who Have a Yard to Protect:

NEWSPAPERS. If you have to go to the bathroom while playing in the front yard, always use the newspaper that’s placed in the driveway every morning for that purpose.

VISITORS. Quickly determine which guest is afraid of dogs. Charge across the room, barking loudly and leap up playfully on this person. If the human falls down on the floor and starts crying, lick its face and growl gently to show your concern.

BARKING. Because you are a dog, you are expected to bark. So bark — a lot. Your owners will be very happy to hear you protecting their house. Especially late at night while they are sleeping safely in their beds. There is no more secure feeling for a human than to keep waking up in the middle of the night and hearing your protective bark, bark, bark …

LICKING. Always take a BIG drink from your water dish immediately before licking your human. Humans prefer clean tongues. Be ready to fetch your human a towel.

HOLES. Rather than digging a BIG hole in the middle of the yard and upsetting your human, dig a lot of smaller holes all over the yard so they won’t notice. If you arrange a little pile of dirt on one side of each hole, maybe they’ll think it’s gophers. There are never enough holes in the ground. Strive daily to do your part to help correct this problem.

DOORS. The area directly in front of a door is always reserved for the family dog to sleep.

THE ART OF SNIFFING. Humans like to be sniffed. Everywhere. It is your duty, as the family dog, to accommodate them.

DINING ETIQUETTE. Always sit under the table at dinner, especially when there are guests, so you can clean up any food that falls on the floor. It’s also a good time to practice your sniffing.

HOUSEBREAKING. Housebreaking is very important to humans, so break as much of the house as possible.

GOING FOR WALKS. Rules of the road: When out for a walk with your master or mistress, never go to the bathroom on your own lawn.

COUCHES. It is perfectly permissible to lie on the new couch after all your humans have gone to bed.

PLAYING. If you lose your footing while chasing a ball or stick, use the flower bed to absorb your fall so you don’t injure yourself.

CHASING CATS. When chasing cats, make sure you never — quite — catch them. It spoils all the fun.

CHEWING. Make a contribution to the fashion industry. Eat a shoe.

Watch for “Basic Rules for Birds Who Have a Cage to Maintain” — coming soon.

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