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The meaning and origin of the expression: Don't keep a dog and bark yourself

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Don't keep a dog and bark yourself

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What's the meaning of the phrase 'Don't keep a dog and bark yourself'?

The proverbial saying 'don't keep a dog and bark yourself' is advice that you should not pay someone to do a task and then do it yourself.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Don't keep a dog and bark yourself'?

The earliest citation of 'don't keep a dog and bark yourself' that I can find is Brian Melbancke's novel Philotimus: the Warre Betwixt Nature and Fortune, 1583:

"It is smal reason you should kepe a dog, and barke your selfe."

Melbancke, whose name is a variant of the more common 'Milbank', used the name of Philotimus, a noted 4th century Greek physician, for the title of his work. Rather fittingly in the context of 'don't keep a dog...', Philotimus was a dogmatist, that is. a thinker who bases his philosophy on belief rather than evidence. As it turns out, Philotimus had little option but to choose dogmatism, as several of his beliefs, for example, his opinion that the heart and brain are useless organs, would be difficult to obtain evidence for.

See other 'Don't...' proverbs:

Don't cast your pearls before swine

Don't change horses in midstream

Don't count your chickens before they are hatched

Don't get mad, get even

Don't cut off your nose to spite your face

Don't let the bastards grind you down

Don't let the cat out of the bag

Don't look a gift horse in the mouth

Don't put the cart before the horse

Don't shut the stable door after the horse has bolted

Don't throw good money after bad

Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater

Don't try to teach your Grandma to suck eggs

Don't upset the apple-cart