PIAOR How: So You Want to Make a Dog Pun

by Lincoln Sedlacek

(1) Make a list of all the dog-related words, phrases, or idioms that you know. This may sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to think up dog words before trying to make a dog pun. If you feel like you need a leg-up, you can try googling “dog-related words,” or going to an animal shelter and asking the workers there if they have a list of dog words you can have.

(2) Once you have your list of dog words, pick a context in which you can use your pun. A good rule of thumb is to pick a context that involves dogs in some way. For example: If your son has a funeral for his pug, who was attacked and partially eaten by your neighbor’s Rottweiler, saying, “I guess they’re telling the truth when they say it’s a dog-eat-dog world,” is sure to get some laughs. However, if you’re giving a eulogy at your grandmother’s funeral, this statement is likely to cause confusion as opposed to amusement.

Note: If your grandmother was eaten by a dog this pun will make sense as long as you called her a bitch in the previous sentence.

(3) Now you have your list of dog words and your context. Do any of the dog words sound kind of like words that relate to your context? Do any of them bring to mind particular circumstances unique to the context you want to use the pun in? If you have trouble fitting dog words into your context, you can try going the other way, too, and attempt to fit context-specific words into your dog words.

(4) If you haven’t found your perfect dog pun in the first fifteen minutes, chances are you didn’t think of enough dog words – it’s time to reevaluate your approach to the project. Don’t be afraid to get hands on. Adopt a dog, play with it, walk it around town, and then dissect it, and see what words pop into your head.

(5) All creative people need a break every now and then. If you still don’t have your dog pun figured out, watch an old rerun of your favorite sitcom or go get some coffee; your creative juices will start flowing again in no time.

(6) Try putting yourself in a real-world situation that lends itself to dog puns. Here’s my suggestion: buy a couple dozen dogs, a gun, and a pair of sunglasses. Drive out into the middle of a desert, get one of the dogs out of the car, and tell him to sit. Then slowly put on your sunglasses, aim your gun at the dog’s head, and try making one good dog pun before you pull the trigger. Don’t worry about coming up with the “perfect pun” each time – remember, there’s no judgment in brainstorming. Plus, you should have a lot of dogs with you, so it’s not like there’s no room for mistakes.

Note: some of the best dog puns I’ve gotten this way include, “Don’t give me those sad, puppy eyes,” and, “Looks like dog days are over.” Feel free to use these if you want.

(7) Finally, at long last, you’ve got your perfect pun. You’re not finished yet; practice your delivery! You’d be surprised at the number of times a great dog pun has been butchered because the punner didn’t rehearse – don’t let this be you!

Congratulations! You created – and practiced – your pun; now deliver it and enjoy your audience’s reaction. You’ve put in the work, now reap the rewards. Because trust me, no reward is greater than hearing your audience’s laughter when you deliver the purrfect dog pun.