The Dogma of Rufus: A Canine Guide to Eating, Sleeping, Digging, Slobbering, Scratching, and Surviving with Humans

The Dogma of Rufus: A Canine Guide to Eating, Sleeping, Digging, Slobbering, Scratching, and Surviving with Humans

by Rufus, Larry Arnstein, Zack Arnstein, Joey Arnstein

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So, you’ve been ripped out from your mother’s paws and taken in by a strange family of humans that has kids who insist on flapping your floppy ears and dressing you up like a ladybug. These new human-folk are trying to “teach” you things, like sitting or not ripping apart their fun-looking shoes, and you might start to think you should try

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So, you’ve been ripped out from your mother’s paws and taken in by a strange family of humans that has kids who insist on flapping your floppy ears and dressing you up like a ladybug. These new human-folk are trying to “teach” you things, like sitting or not ripping apart their fun-looking shoes, and you might start to think you should try to “obey.” But I know better; I’ve been around the block and peed on most parts of it. Puppies like you need my—wait, somebody just walked in with a hamburger. Gotta check this out.

Ok, back now. Anyway, to survive in this world filled with brown-clad fools delivering packages and leashes, you need my guide to show you what’s what in this dog-eat-dog world of ours. Like dog beds; your human might try to force you to sleep in one of these, but with my sly techniques I can show you how to weasel your way into their clean, fresh-smelling king-sized bed, or even stretch yourself out and have it all to yourself. Those imbeciles might think they are your owner, but you’ll show them who really owns who armed with knowledge on these subjects:

- Advanced barking—how loud and annoying can you go?

- Cars—catch your Moby Dick

- Licking—what, where, when, and why

- Biting—ask questions later

- Welcoming guests—try not to hyperventilate

- And much more!

Communicating with humans can be difficult, as they are not very smart, but they give you things and throw you balls, so you might as well try to amuse them.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Not only dog lovers will be charmed by this hilarious how-to guide, ostensibly aimed at younger canines, offering, according to Rufus (the “old” dog who is purportedly the book’s real author), “a collection of wisdom passed down through the years from dog to dog.” These ideas should help the dog reader both lead “a more meaningful dog life” and help humans lead “less pathetic” ones. The tongue-in-cheek style continues with a glossary that defines a newspaper as “soft, very eatable, chewable thing suitable for gnawing, chomping, and spreading around the house.” The subtitle gives an accurate sense of the broad scope of topics covered, in sections such as “Human Food: Our Central Purpose (A Mission Statement”; “Licking: What, Where, When, and Why”; and “Cats: An Evolutionary Mistake.” The Arnsteins (or Rufus, if you will) offer review questions to enable self-assessment of mastery of the material by his target audience. The practice pointers for the younger generation are enhanced by photos demonstrating skills to be mastered like the “Grab-and-Go” maneuver to liberate tasty food from a kitchen table. The authors provide trenchant observations about human nature (eating while talking keeps people from enjoying either, and is the sort of multitasking dogs would never do). Readers will discover laughs on every page. Agent: Jill Marsal, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. (July)

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Skyhorse Publishing
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5.10(w) x 7.20(h) x 1.00(d)

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By Larry Arnstein, Zack Arnstein, Joey Arnstein

Skyhorse Publishing

Copyright © 2013 Larry Arnstein, Zack Arnstein, and Joey Arnstein
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62087-604-6



There are two kinds of food: human food and dog food. Human food is better. That's why they call their food, "food," and ours, "dog food."

"I wouldn't feed that to my dog!" What does that tell you?

There are three ways of getting human food:

1) Jump up on the table when nobody's looking and just go for it. This is known as the "grab-and-go." (see Fig. 1.1) It is very effective but is always followed by a lot of angry human shouting.

2) Wait for something to fall from the table, then scarf it down immediately. If it falls to the floor, it's yours.

3) Keenly observe the food. This can work, but for some reason humans don't like it. On the other hand, dogs have perfected observing food for thousands of years, it's in your DNA, so just do it. You know how. Use your ears, your eyes, and if necessary, whimper.

Most of what we do will be based around our central purpose of obtaining the human food, or at the very least, larger quantities of dog food. While at times we may thoroughly enjoy the food the humans label as dog food, especially those biscuit treat things, we needn't let our humans know this. We must, at all times, appear to be experiencing great suffering.

List of Good Reasons Not to Eat Human Food

* * *

Learning about Human Food

Categories: Deliciousness Ranking, Difficulty of Obtainment, etc.

Chips and Crackers: This category involves a wide range of mysterious, bite-sized snacks. They are mysterious because we dogs normally don't get to really know what they are because we tend to receive them via throw, and thus have swallowed them entirely before ever getting to fully examine their contents. Nonetheless, they are usually quite delicious, and most important, very high on the likelihood of obtainment. This is because a human feels that he has so many of them, due to their bite-sizedness, that he can afford to share just one or two with the dog.

Pizza: You will likely not experience such generosity from the humans when it comes to larger foods such as pizza. In contrast with many other human foods that are created during at least an hour of preparation in the kitchen, pizza appears suddenly at the door, immediately filling the room up with an overwhelming sweet odor. While it is rare that the humans will share this food, it sometimes will linger in a box accessibly close to the edge of a table, and thus can be achieved through "grab-and-go" (see Fig. 1.1.).

Everything else: Since it's all so good, there isn't much point in analyzing the categories any further, not to mention it's getting me all worked up and I'm not sure I will be able to continue working if I don't stop talking about human food immediately. Just do your best to eat as much as possible and don't worry too much about what it is you may be eating. Surely, it will be an amazing experience.

Dining Etiquette: Why Is a French Word Necessary?

Any activity which requires a French word to describe it is probably something dogs don't want to be involved in. Of course I'm not talking about eating, I'm talking about "dining." Right away you know there's something wrong. Wherever "dining" is happening, there are "table manners," which isn't French, it's British. Britain is also a suspect nation, except for the fact that they seem to like dogs there. Even the Queen of England likes dogs, but if you have a place like Buckingham Palace with a lot of "grounds" as your home, you have to have dogs running around there, don't you? And you need somebody you can talk to besides other members of the Royal Family.

Unfortunately, the concept of dining etiquette and table manners is not confined to these faraway places where you can't understand what they're saying, and I include France in that statement. It can happen right here, if there are "guests" present. When this happens, suddenly the "good" silverware comes out of the drawer where it has not caused any trouble for months. "Good" means you can't cut anything with the knives, the forks are awkward, and the spoons are too small. Also, all of a sudden the food has long and confusing names.

Meatloaf is transformed into Beef Wellington, and in place of frozen peas, corn, and carrots, you have individual vegetables with their own names. "Do ya want any more?" becomes, "Would you care for some more Duck a la Orange?" I have heard, too many times, the reply, "Oh, no thank you—it's so delicious, but I'm watching my weight." Well, I'm also watching your weight, and guess what? There's too much of it. Here's what I'd like to hear instead: "Oh, no thank you, but my dog will have some." I bet that's what the Queen of England says, and the Duchess of Kent then directs the waitpersons to give a generous helping to the Queen's corgis.

One Bowl, Many Mouths

As you already know, the number of dogs who can comfortably eat out of one bowl at the same time is limited only by the size of the bowl and the size of the dogs. If there's only a small amount of food, then the first dog who gets to the bowl will scarf down most of it, so you always want to be first dog if possible. This means being aware and alert to the sound of food being emptied into a bowl at all times.

By contrast, humans aren't comfortable sticking their heads together into the same bowl or plate at the same time. It's partly on account of their short and inadequate tongues, but also because they aren't comfortable with anything remotely natural.

Instead they have individual plates; one for each human who is theoretically sharing their mealtime in convivial eating and drinking. If that isn't sufficiently bizarre, they won't use those famous opposable thumbs of theirs to pick up the food and shovel it into their mouths efficiently. Oh, no. They have silverware, specifically knives, forks, and spoons, sometimes more than one of each: a "salad fork," for example (although why any sentient being other than a rabbit or a snail would want to eat a salad is unknown). The result of all these needless individual plates, bowls, cups, glasses, and silverware is that there's a need to "clean up" when the meal, pointlessly elongated by talking and drinking, is over.

Part of the reason for human suffering, and why humans at this stage in their evolution can't reach the higher levels of blissfulness that we dogs know, comes from this incessant need to mix things that really should be separate. In this example, we are talking about mixing eating with talking. The humans think that mixing different activities together will somehow double their enjoyment of these activities, when in fact, while trying to concentrate on eating and conversing simultaneously, they end up not really appreciating either. This problem is not restricted to the "dining" table. Take walking. Your typical human does not find the act of simply walking outside to be entertaining enough, so they stick earphones in their ears and listen to music while they walk. Thus, while we dogs are fully enjoying the simple pleasure of walking, the humans are half walking, half listening, and probably sending a text message at the same time. And they wonder why they spend most of their lives in therapy!

Getting back to the more important subject of the end of the human meal: of course we can help with the cleanup, and in fact do the whole thing ourselves by licking their plates clean. Since they won't do this themselves, there are usually excellent bits of food and gravy left for us.

When we're done cleaning up, there's no good reason why the plates, which are now very clean, cannot be stacked in cabinets, ready for the next meal, but unsurprisingly, the humans insist on doing their own "official" post-dog cleaning, usually by putting everything in a "dishwasher," with which they then waste large quantities of water, noxious chemical soap, and energy, all of which they're running out of on the Great Dog's Earth, at an astounding pace. They do the same thing with their clothes, which they insist on throwing into similar machines just when they're beginning to smell interesting.

Humans' lives are so full of this kind of useless activity, it's no wonder they need to relax by altering their consciousness with alcohol.



Eating and chewing are often thought of as part of the same process, and sometimes they are, but not always. For example, if you can basically inhale your food in one swallow, you should do that. If you don't, there's no guarantee the food will still be there a minute from now. Another dog could suddenly appear and snatch it from you, or a human could suddenly decide to take it away. Lots of bad things could happen if you hesitate.

Who chews their food? Humans, that's who, because they don't appreciate their food. Evidence shows a human will often not eat all the food on the table, or even on their own plate! While the food is in front of the human, waiting to be eaten, he will often talk with other humans, pushing the food around on the plate, cutting it into unnecessarily small pieces, and even then, chewing before swallowing. If you can swallow a piece of food, there's no reason to chew it—lots of reasons not to.

On the other hand, sometimes you have a bone with meat on it, so it must be chewed before it can be swallowed. Then you need to break out your chewing skills. You'll probably need to remove the bone from your dish and put it on the floor so you can put a paw on it for stability. If the bone isn't too big, sometimes you can crack it with a powerful jaw crunch, which can be very satisfying.

Humans don't get this. They will leave a bone with quite a lot of meat on it, because they're not willing to pick it up and go after it. You see this a lot when they're having guests over, or if it's a date or something where they don't want to make a lot of bone-crunching noises and have meat juices running down their chin—which is really part of the enjoyment of eating, possibly the best, or at least second best after swallowing. But you know? That's perfectly okay. We are right there, ready to take over finishing that bone.

We communicate our readiness by sitting at a polite distance (not too far!) from the table, and staring at the food. Concentrate on that food with intensity. Focus, focus, focus!

Our message to humans: Keep yourselves dainty and pretty! Don't let any of those meat juices trickle down your chin and stain your dress. Let us handle the difficult part.

Conclusion: As you can see, I have gotten off subject again, and have begun discussing human food, although this chapter is about "Dog" food. This is an advanced teaching technique that I have employed to help you understand the importance of not forgetting about our Central Purpose! (See Chapter 1.)


Excerpted from THE DOGMA OF RUFUS by Larry Arnstein, Zack Arnstein, Joey Arnstein. Copyright © 2013 Larry Arnstein, Zack Arnstein, and Joey Arnstein. Excerpted by permission of Skyhorse Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

Rufus is a ruggedly handsome Bulldog mix who enjoys chasing Frisbees and UPS guys, and long,
romantic walks on the beach (no leashes). He’s seeking a female dog—any age,
any breed—for a casual encounter.

Larry, Zack, and
Joey Arnstein are a father and sons trio and are all writers. Larry Arnstein was a writer for Saturday Night Live and won two Writers Guild of America awards for the television show Not
Necessarily the News. He and Zack are the coauthors of The Bad Driver's
Handbook, The Dog Ate My Resumé, and
The Ultimate Counterterrorist Home Companion. Larry lives in Santa Monica, California, Joey lives in Portland, Oregon, while Zack lives in Santiago, Chile.

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