Roll Over, Beethoven

Few communities are more dog-friendly than Bozeman. Everywhere you look, it seems there’s a dog waiting for the next hike, bike, ski, or float—and that’s a good thing. But with all this dog culture, it can be easy to lose track of the lingo. Here’s a refresher on Bozeman dog-speak.

Bloodbath—describes the universal canine compulsion to roll, smear, slide, and wallow in nasty, fragrant, dead-animal remains. Usually a “Hosebath” comes next.

Bridger—calling this name within Bozeman city limits will bring at least four dogs, a real-estate developer, and a ski bum running at any given moment. All six will be drooling.

Crag Dog—a fantastic, mythical beast that can sit quietly at the base of a rock climb without barking, whining, running back and forth like a manic tennis player, or annoying and endangering every other climber within a mile. None have ever been observed. 

Cur Burrs—cockleburs that stick like magnets to dog fur and must often be cut out. Prideful dogs will slink around in nude shame until said fur grows back.

Dangler—the tail-end result of dogs eating large quantities of long grass. Often humorous to watch, but can necessitate awkward human intervention.

Designer Dog—a froofy canine bred specifically for aesthetically pleasing traits and that lacks any other redeeming qualities. These animals are thought to be the origin of the phrase, “like dog, like master.”

Dog Bobber—a sort of cheesy-looking but effective canine flotation jacket. Also, anyone who teaches a puppy to swim by tossing it into the lake.

Dog Park—a semi-toxic plot of land rendered completely barren by the spirited interaction of canines; a favorite hangout of Too Proud Dog Guy, The Frisbee Hippie, and Crazy Shrieking Overprotective Lady.

Downtown Dog—the rare and enviable mutt who will sit quietly on a downtown sidewalk indefinitely while its owner drinks coffee and (apparently) shops for expensive rugs and lifelike bronze statuettes of sensuous cowgirls exposing themselves in a rainstorm. If the überpatient Downtown Dog could speak, it would probably say, “This is some BULLSHIT, right here.”

Eagle Bait—any designer “dog” that weighs less than 15 pounds.

Hot Dog—the most delicious kind of dog, best cooked over open fire. In West Virginia, “hot dog” and “eagle bait” are synonymous. 

Leash—no one in the Gallatin Valley seems to know for what purpose this “leash” device is intended. It remains a modern-day mystery.

Peecicle—the gross but sort of fascinating icy stalagmite created when dozens of dogs “mark” the same signpost, hydrant, or tree during extended cold weather.

Poo Bag—handy plastic baggies distributed for free by the city, used for collecting canine waste—and often left full on the side of the trail, apparently for the Poop Fairy to collect during the night. “Ass Bag” is a variation denoting someone who never uses them. 

Quilled—what a dog gets when it tries to befriend (or devour) a porcupine. Not to be confused with “killed,” which is what a dog gets when it tries to befriend (or devour) a grizzly bear, cougar, wolverine, or flatbed truck.

Shit Bomb—canine excrement left in a hiking/biking trail or skin track by inattentive or dickish owners. The appropriate recourse is to collect the shit bomb in a paper bag, follow the owner to his house, set the bag aflame on the front porch, and run away.

Sniper—a super-friendly dog that can lick your face faster than you can say “eewwwww.”

Sternum Strike—the unfortunate but necessary knee-kick used to stop a jumping dog from smearing its muddy paws across your midriff. This move can also be performed on the dog’s owner, who is usually watching with a dumb look on his face.

Teething—the ultimate excuse for bad puppy behavior: “Sorry Bridger ate your expensive new hiking boots—he’s teething, you know…” While less effective, this excuse is still worth a try for human faux pas: “Sorry I got hammered and tried to kiss your girlfriend. My dog is teething, you know...”

Top Dog—southwest Montana’s most coveted canine crown, judged and awarded by the most doggone Fido-lovin’ dawgs in town—the Outside Bozeman editors. Get your entry in today at