My Dogs Are Barking

Text: “My dogs are barking” Folk speech/colloquialism


M is my older sister who is a middle school teacher. While she has heard this expression before, it has had a resurgence with her students recently as it become a trend to call your toes “dogs”.

M- “My dogs are barking. (Laughs) I know it’s a funny one and it’s has even become a meme nowadays with my kids, my kids at school I mean. They love to say it if they’re tired or were running in gym. It means that your feet really hurt.”

Interviewer – Can you remember a time when you have heard it?

M- “Yeah, actually, Gran (our grandmother) would say it all the time when we were growing up. I was probably like 12 when I remember her saying it but you were probably too young that’s why you don’t remember. But yeah she would sit down and say ‘whew! my dogs are barking’ after we would take a walk or if she had been standing while cooking in the kitchen for a long time”


In my interpretation I would guess that not only does this have to do with your feet being in pain, but also with them possibly being stinky. It is a pretty silly phrase, especially when used today with a younger audience. I would guess though that someone might say their dogs are barking if they had sweaty feet and the odor was giving off something that would alert you to their smell like a bark. However, it does make sense in the idea that people will say a part of their body is ‘barking’ in pain, which in this case would mean that their feet are barking in pain.