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Thursday, November 22, 2007

The ubiquitous word dog - is it getting a bad rap?

Yes, I'm a dog. So what of it! My Mum doesn't think of me as just a dog, I'm a living, breathing, fun, loving, energetic, agility machine!

But I think dogs are getting a bad rap. First, let's look at what a dog is...

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) - Cite This Source - Share This dog [dawg, dog] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation noun, verb, dogged, dog·ging. –noun
1.a domesticated canid, Canis familiaris, bred in many varieties.
2.any carnivore of the dog family Canidae, having prominent canine teeth and, in the wild state, a long and slender muzzle, a deep-chested muscular body, a bushy tail, and large, erect ears. Compare canid.

Yep that's me! But I hear all kinds of sayings, slurs and negative comments with the word 'dog' included, like these:
  • It's a dog eat dog world - describes a world in which people fight for themselves only and will hurt other people
  • That car you just bought is a dog - something worthless or of extremely poor quality
  • Dog it - to shirk one's responsibility
  • Gone to the dogs - to deteriorate; degenerate morally or physically
  • It's a dog's life - to have an unhappy or harassed existence
  • You dog - a person regarded as contemptible
  • Go to the dogs - to ruin
  • Working like a dog - expresses a negative opinion about working extremely hard
  • Dog breath - person with halitosis, bad smelling breath
  • Sick as a dog - very sick
  • In the doghouse - in trouble!
...and I won't even get into the x-rated slangs.

I would say that when most folks use these slang phrases they generally don't mean any harm, but aren't they harming us pups? Think about it - subconsciously isn't it giving us a bad rap?

There are some phrases that shine a little better light on us pups. Like:
  • Put on the dog - to assume an attitude of wealth or importance; put on airs
But even this one has a somewhat negative connotation.

I'd like to get the word out - pups are you with me? Let's let the two-leggers know that we want to be represented in a more positive light. Help them to stop using negative slang to describe what they really want to say. It may even help them to get their point across more effectively.


  1. How about, your doggone great?!

    Hey Johann, Guess what? I'm following you on Twitter.


  2. Hey Johanns,

    I agrees with ya. Firstest us dogs, then maybes c-a-t-s then we gotta works on the peeps thing. Too manys peeps don't likes other peeps. It's all soo stupids!

    Dad wants a iPods Touch so he can twitter mores and aways from the magic typer. HE'S stupids. All those teeny tinys squiggle buttons. How can he be fasters?

    Enjoys your bird.



  3. In my house, "it's a dog's life" has a totally different meaning. Here it means having someone (me) cater to Archie & Lydia's every need, making sure they get the best of everything - food, toys, love & attention - whatever they need. I certainly wish "it's a dog's life" meant the same to all dogs.

    There's another saying that I think is a good one - "doggedly determined." When a dog sets his (or her) mind to something he won't give up until he achieves his goal, and that's (usually) a good thing.

    Some of the sayings you listed are pretty negative, so doggone it, let's just turn 'em around!

  4. Hey that's not fair. I think we 4 legged creatures are alright. it's the 2 legged ones that are evil

    ~ Girl girl


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