A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from August 28, 2012
“The dog ate my homework” (student excuse)

"The dog ate my homework” is the classic lame excuse that a student makes to a teacher to cover for missing homework. It’s not known what student first made the excuse.

“The dog ate it” has been cited in print since at least March 1976.


19 March 1976, Register-Republic (Rockford, IL), “Excuses are for losing candidates” by Robert Yoakum, pg. A6, col. 6:
“Speaking of excuses, have you done your homework yet?”
“Yes, but it’s missing. I think maybe the dog ate it.”

11 October 1976, Morning-Star (Rockford, IL), pg. A5, col. 4:
As long as we have homework, we will have excuses for not getting it done.

One of the most interesting is, “I did it, I really did, but my dog ate it at the bus stop.”
A Time for School by Dave Parrish
in the Marengo Beacon-News


6 September 1977, Daily News-Miner (Fairbanks, AK), “Back-to-school study hints,” pg. 12, col. 5:
EXCUSES: This is the last resort technique in the learning process is left to the totally imaginative students due to the fact that it takes much time and effort to achieve an exceptable excuse because “My dog ate my term paper” is no longer acceptable.

Google Books
25 October 1978, The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA), “From ‘The Ann Landers Encyclopedia,’” pg. 23, col. 4:
A 13-year-old boy who tells the teacher, “The dog ate my homework,” should not be permitted to go to the movies on Saturday with his chums.

OCLC WOrldCat record
“But, Teacher, the Dog Ate My Homework”
Publisher: Sage Publications
Edition/Format:  ArticleView all editions and formats
Publication: Intervention in School and Clinic, 23, no. 5 (1988): 522
Other Databases: ECO

OCLC WorldCat record
The dog ate my home-work : and other famous excuses.
Author: Michigan. Office of Highway Safety Planning.
Publisher: Lansing, Mich. : Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, [199-?]
Edition/Format:  Book : State or province government publication : English

OCLC WorldCat record
The dog ate my homework : poems about school
Author: Sara Holbrook
Publisher: Cleveland, OH : Kid Poems for the Not-So-Bad, ©1990.
Edition/Format:  Book : Juvenile audience : English

OCLC WorldCat record
The dog ate it : conquering homework hassles
Author: Elaine K McEwan-Adkins
Publisher: Wheaton, Ill. : Harold Shaw Publishers, ©1996.
Edition/Format:  Book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
The dog ate my homework : personal responsibility--how we avoid it and what to do about it
Author: Vincent E Barry
Publisher: Kansas City, Mo. : Andrews and McMeel, ©1997.
Edition/Format:  Book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
My dog ate my homework! : a collection of funny poems
Author: Bruce Lansky; Stephen Carpenter
Publisher: Minnetonka, MN : Meadowbrook Press ; New York : Distributed by Simon & Schuster, ©2002.
Edition/Format:  Book : Juvenile audience : English
Summary: A collection of humorous poem that are very good to read out loud.

OCLC WorldCat record
Little dog ; The dog ate my homework
Author: Sally Murphy; Teresa Culkin-Lawrence
Publisher: Miranda, N.S.W. : Banana Books, 2003.
Series: Doggy duo.; Banana splits. 
Edition/Format:  Book : Fiction : Primary school : English
Summary: Little dog: Mira is desperate for a dog, so when she finds a tiny dog down a drain she thinks all her dreams have come true. The dog ate my homework: Jeremy doesn’t have his homework because the dog ate it. But why is it that adults don’t believe you, even when you are telling the truth? Suggested level: primary. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityEducation/Schools • (0) Comments • Tuesday, August 28, 2012 • Permalink