Pawesome dog idioms 

These dog idioms are really awesome... I mean pawesome!  (Get it?  A dog's hand is called a paw... so paw + awesome = pawesome).

Although these expressions are related to man's best friend, you can use them to describe any situation or talk about human behavior.

Remember idioms are fixed expressions for a group of words together. The entire group of words all together have a fixed meaning that is different than if you looked up the words separately in the dictionary.  Got it?  Good dog!


Dog idioms with definitions and examples: Work like a dog, sick as a dog, fight like cats and dogs, rain cats and dogs, like a dog with two tails, call off the dogs, dog eat dog, gone to the dogs.

More sentence examples

Sometimes it's really helpful to have more than one example sentence when you learn a new idiom. Below, you'll find more examples for each idiom from the info-graphic:


work like a dog:  to work very hard.

  • You need a vacation—you've been working like a dog  for the past six months.
  • If you want to be a lawyer be prepared to work like a dog  day after day.
  • I didn't study at all during the semester so now I'm working like a dog  to try to finish all the material and pass my exams.


sick as a dog:  to be very sick.

  • My father caught me with a cigarette so he made me smoke the entire pack and I was sick as a dog.  I never touched a cigarette again after that.
  • I decided to get the flu shot this year because last year when I caught the flue and was sick as a dog.
  • If you eat any more candy you're going to be sick as a dog.


fight like cats and dogs:  to constantly fight or argue.

  • My children fought like cats and dogs  during the entire car trip to the mountains.
  • It's ridiculous how grown adults still fight like cats and dogs  at family reunions.
  • The only reason we don't fight like cats and dogs  anymore is that I keep my mouth closed and practice breathing exercises while my wife yells at me.


rain cats and dogs:  to rain very heavily.

  • My hair is completely wet because it's raining cats and dogs  outside.
  • I had to buy a new umbrella today because I wore a white dress and it rained cats and dogs  all afternoon.
  • Don't you just love the sound when it rains cats and dogs?
  • During the summer when it's very hot and humid, it frequently rains cats and dogs  for about 30 minutes in the late afternoon.


like a dog with two tails:  to be very excited and happy.

  • Sandra tried to be cool and not appear excited when her ex-boyfriend came over but she acted like a dog with two tails.
  • My children are like dogs with two tails  every Christmas morning when they open their presents.
  • He's like a dog with two tails  every time he buys a new computer.


call off the dogs:  to stop attacking or criticizing someone.

  • If you call off the dogs  I'll come to the wedding.
  • Tell your lawyers to call off the dogs  or I will ask for child support.
  • Unfortunately your opponent isn't going to call off the dogs  so if you want to win this election you might want to purchase television ads to promote your campaign.


dog eat dog:  ruthless or cruel competition.

  • It may seem like child beauty pageants are innocent fun but they're really dog eat dog  competitions.
  • Acting is a dog eat dog  profession because actors will do anything to get a part.
  • Do you really want to become a professional tennis player? It's a dog eat dog  world on the tennis circuit.


gone to the dogs:  something has lost its good qualities and gone bad; to deteriorate.

  • What happened to this neighborhood? It used to have well-kept houses but now it's gone to the dogs.
  • Pop music has gone to the dogs.  Does every singer have to wear skimpy outfits and do sexy dances in each video?
  • It's good you left early.  Some random people came to the party with lots of alcohol and then the party went to the dogs.


More dog idioms

three dog night:  a very cold night.

Note about the origins of this saying:  Before there was electric/gas heating people sometimes brought their dog into the bed for extra warmth. For an extremely cold night, you'd need to bring three dogs into the bed.

  • Bring your coat, mittens and hat because it's going to be a three dog night.
  • I just love three dog nights  sitting around the fire drinking hot cocoa.
  • I don't care how much a taxicab costs. I'm not taking the bus on a three dog night.


in the doghouse in trouble or in a situation where someone is upset or angry with you for some reason.

  • My sister put her boyfriend in the doghouse  again after she noticed him talking to one of the cheerleaders during our lunch hour.
  • Tomorrow's mom's birthday so get her some nice flowers or you'll be in the doghouse  again.


everybody / everyone and his / their dog:  a large number or the majority of people.

  • Why aren't you coming to the dance? Everyone and his dog  is going.
  • I'm never going to the mall the day before Christmas ever again. Everybody and their dog  was there so I couldn't even find a parking space.
  • Let's get to the cinema early because everybody and his dog  will be there.


hot dog / hot diggety dog / hot diggity dog:  wow, awesome.  (This is actually an interjection  that is used to express delight or enthusiasm).

  • I just won $1,000 on this scratch-off lottery ticket. Hot dog!
  • Hot diggety dog  I got into Harvard University!
  • My father called to tell me that my boyfriend asked him for his permission to marry me... Hot diggity dog,  I'm going to get a manicure!


Your turn

The best way to learn new vocabulary is to use it in your own practice sentences. You can write your own sentences in the comments below and I will correct any errors.


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