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Fur real: Boy Scouts of America to introduce Puppy Scouts program

For 106 years, the life-changing experiences enjoyed in Scouting have been limited to humans.

This fall, thanks to a new Boy Scouts of America program, that’s going to change.

Put your paws together for the Puppy Scouts. At last, our loyal, friendly and cheerful four-legged friends get to experience the best of Scouting.

Details are still being worked out, but right now we know Puppy Scouts will be part of existing packs, troops, teams and crews. They’ll be ask to sit — that’s right, good boy! — while the humans enjoy weekly meetings. And they’ll be invited on select campouts and backpacking trips, as long as they carry their own gear and are current on their rabies vaccine.

I talked with Olaf Sprilo, the official veterinarian of the BSA, about the new program.

“Make no bones about it, Puppy Scouts was the inevitable next step, given the role dogs play in our society,” Sprilo said. “More and more these days, you see dogs at airports, shopping malls — even restaurants! Rather than just rolling over — playing dead, if you will — on this issue, the BSA decided to make this a pet project.”

Sprilo, whose Dalmatian, Scout, and German shepherd, Patches, were part of a Puppy Scouts pilot program in Dallas, answered a few more questions before he had to bow-wow out of the conversation.


How will Puppy Scouts be organized?

Puppy Scouts will form kennels, which are groups of two to eight dogs of similar ages.

Think of these like dens in a Cub Scout pack or patrols in a Boy Scout troop.

Will they use the Scout salute, Scout sign and Scout Law?

“Dogs can’t really salute, so that’s a ridiculous question,” Sprilo told me. “You have met a dog, right? How would a dog salute? I mean, physically how would that be possible?”

He’s right. Silly question. But he did tell me there would be a special Puppy Scout Law that’s closely aligned with the regular Scout Law.

“But because a dog’s vocabulary is often less advanced than a human’s,” Sprilo said, “the Scout Law had to be modified.”

The Puppy Scout Law reads:

Woof woof woof … woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof and* woof.

(* If your puppy can’t say “and,” that’s OK. He or she may substitute an additional “woof” in its place.)


Will they wear the uniform?

Yes, Puppy Scouts will be asked to wear the official Scout shirt for meetings and formal occasions. If they show up in uniform, they’ll get a treat.

At least initially, modifying a human shirt to fit a dog will be the responsibility of the human companion “because many dogs cannot using sewing machines,” Sprilo explained.

Will Puppy Scouts have awards and ranks?

Absolutely. Puppy Scouts aligned with a Cub Scout pack will earn Puppy Loops that will slide onto their collar.

There will be more than a dozen Puppy Loops in the first wave, and Sprilo told me about three:

  • Dry as a Bone: Prove to your human companion that you are properly housetrained by going two weeks without an accident.
  • Shoe Got It: Find at least one pair of your human companion’s shoes. Destroy them.
  • So Fetch: Retrieve your human companion’s copy of Boys’ Life from the mailbox. Deliver it to him with as little slobber on the pages as possible.

Puppy Scouts aligned with a Boy Scout troop, meanwhile, earn Puppy Badges. These share names (and emblems) with Boy Scout merit badges but have alternate, canine-friendly requirements. For example:

  • Mammal Study: Chase at least three different species of small animals, such as squirrels, rabbits or birds.
  • Crime Prevention: Wake your human companion with loud barking any time there’s a passing car or unusual noise outside. Better to be safe than sorry.
  • Climbing: Ignore what your human companion has told you and summit as many pieces of furniture as you can before getting caught.

Surprisingly, the Dog Care merit badge is not included in the first batch of Puppy Badges.


OK, but what about Kitten Scouts?


Photos by Marcie Rodriguez/BSA

79 Comments on Fur real: Boy Scouts of America to introduce Puppy Scouts program

  1. You got me the year you posted the blade length article, Bryan. You won’t get me again.

    • Tom Connolly // April 2, 2016 at 7:50 am // Reply

      He got me, I must admit, but this is such a good idea!!! Make it happen!

  2. I admit, I’m a little disappointed in this one. Last year’s merit badge one caused a lot of ruckus in my council. This one, not even a little fooled.

  3. Haha, cute! 🙂

  4. My pups would rock at Scouting!!

    • They just might. To find out, got to it is quite real

  5. Bob Mersereau // April 1, 2016 at 7:56 am // Reply

    What…no Kitten Scouts? Join me in writing to to the Chief to advocate on behalf of our feline friends!

    • I was thinking the same thing. Not fair to not let our kittens be scouts as well!

      • Kitty Scouts – potential program requirements:

        Nap Taking merit badge
        Dead Animal Gift MB
        Meowing Etiquette MB
        Pouncing Techniques MB
        Fancy Food Rejection MB
        Self-Protection from Young Children and Other Pets protocols
        Lap Petting time requirement
        Window Sill Watching requirement
        World Domination Plot Project

        The list goes on… the possibilities are endless!

        • Peggy Nietfeld // December 30, 2016 at 1:42 am //

          Name that hairball….

  6. Lol! You got me last year—-your good! although I didn’t fall for this one—I do wish this one was not a April fools though!

  7. There is Dog Scouting of America

  8. Cheryl Dorwin // April 1, 2016 at 8:13 am // Reply

    Had me going for a second 😉 Although, it’d be a heck of lot easier for me to be able to bring my dog on campouts instead of having to kennel her

  9. April McMillan // April 1, 2016 at 8:20 am // Reply

    Olaf Sprilo was quite clever, sir. Quite clever, indeed. ?

  10. Paul Moore // April 1, 2016 at 8:20 am // Reply

    I am gathering contact info from cats interested in joining a class action suit. Really! An organization with Tigers, Bobcats and Lions discriminating against cats?

  11. Charles F. Griffiths // April 1, 2016 at 8:21 am // Reply

    This is very “PUNNY” – I love it!

  12. Carey Snyder // April 1, 2016 at 8:21 am // Reply

    Now people will claim that Scouting is going to the dogs.

  13. Finally!

  14. Good one. I’m going to see if I can help spread this one for you. Lol

  15. There actually is a dog scout program. . .

  16. I hear the new program will take effect April 1, 2017, and leave no trace is their first requirement.

  17. darlene kishpaugh // April 1, 2016 at 8:28 am // Reply

    At least I can use the same teaching techniques. I can get my scouts do do anything for a treat.

  18. After a long hike: “boy, are my Dogs tired!”

  19. I often bring my little pooch to our Troop meetings. Maybe we do need a program like this…. just don’t announce it on April 1

  20. Lisa Yetman // April 1, 2016 at 8:32 am // Reply

    What about a Puppy Games Merit Badge – frisbee/ball fetching, tug the rope, herding skills, etc.? Oh…and how do the puppies choose a kennel patrol leader?

    • They choose by sniffing their butt

  21. dogs are more easily controlled than Scouts these days. So, your prank has some merit and attract a new section of society, sponsors, activities…. Though a dog with a uniform is silly…

    • Actually, I had no issue about the dog having a uniform of some kind because service dogs usually have to wear a “vest” type uniform. And some police dogs have bullet proof vests.

  22. WebelosMom // April 1, 2016 at 8:38 am // Reply

    Haha! Good one! I think most leaders have already earned their “cat herding” badge.

  23. Mike Surbaugh // April 1, 2016 at 8:38 am // Reply

    I have heard all morning from the cat lobbyists. I will discuss with the board. Thanks all for your support of our new initiative.

  24. Mike Goldman // April 1, 2016 at 8:43 am // Reply

    Regarding the comment on Kitty Scouts, Mr. Wendell: Please come see me in my office ASAP.

  25. Sandra Christman // April 1, 2016 at 8:44 am // Reply

    Come on guys… just like Venturers where there is Cood scouting I’m sure once this Puppy Scout program kicks off they’ll come up with SOMETHING to make the Boy Scouts of America Puppy Scout program interspecies too.

  26. April fool’s… but a real organization called Dog Scouts does exsist!

  27. ha ha was reading it and thought it was real (april fools) then looked at the calender happy april fools bay every one

  28. One problem… Dog Scouts of America already exists (
    It was a good try though. Lol
    The oversized MB patch was probably the best one so far.

  29. April Fool!

  30. R. Chip Turner // April 1, 2016 at 9:06 am // Reply

    Always enjoy these, Bryan. As with some others . . . our dog (Cali) is ready to join!

  31. What fun- I loved this! A Scout is cheerful- and has a great sense of humor!

  32. Russell Williams // April 1, 2016 at 9:11 am // Reply

    YPT required every two years… Your Pet Training

  33. Tree identication moved to Scout Rank.
    Skunk, porcupine, squirrel and cat added as mandatory animal identification.
    Tracking merit badge returns as bEagle-required.

  34. Matt Waite // April 1, 2016 at 9:17 am // Reply

    Well played Bryan, well played

  35. It does exist
    My dog has been a member for years. As far as the Boy Scouts adapting it ???

  36. Following the grand tradition of all changes to the Scouting program announced in BB being met with critical questioning or worse, I offer the following comments:

    1. Can Puppy Scouts be Lion Cub Scouts? Or will their be an objection from the Kitten Scouts?

    2. Puppy Scouts CAN salute. With their hind leg up. But you don’t want that.

    3. Birds are not mammals. Squirrel!

    4. Add “Human Care” merit badge. Leatherwork might be tasty too.

    (( above offered in the spirit of fun ))

    Great job on the photoshopping!

  37. Pegen Waukegan // April 1, 2016 at 9:25 am // Reply

    Last year I got fooled so bad, I didn’t realize it was a joke until October. Not going to happen this year!
    The highest rank in dog scouting is Beagle.

  38. I LOVE the pictures.

  39. I really want this to be real. A doggie den would be awesome!

  40. Bryan, I’m glad that Puppy Scouts have been initiated! Your first illustration is that of a Border Collie. My “BC” can pitch a tent, gather wood, and sing camp songs! I think it’s about time that the puppies had their own program. I agree that uniforming will be a bit of a problem however! Keep up the good work!

  41. Creates a whole new industry. Sending my design for doggy tents to the Patent Office right now! Also including a model design with an inflatable litter box in preparation for the inevitable outcry from the felines.

  42. Read half way then remembered that today is the 1st of april got me good

  43. I am DEFINITELY on board with all aspects of the kitten scouts statement! 🙂

  44. Ralph Wooden // April 1, 2016 at 10:31 am // Reply

    I’m sorry they’re only requiring the shirt. Too many human Scouts think they’re in uniform if they’re wearing the Scout shirt. I think this could validate that quality of uniforming for our traditional troops, packs, and (especially) leaders. I hope BSA will reconsider and require full uniform for our newest Scouting program.

  45. Bryan – clever writing! Marcie – wonderful photos! Part of me wants this to be real – and I’m a cat person! Still laughing over on this side of the 3rd floor… ^_^

  46. I think the Virtual Reality scouting announcement from 2 years ago was the best of the April Fools posts.

    • That wasn’t real?????

  47. Scott Eggleston 1 // April 1, 2016 at 12:15 pm // Reply

    The joke is I have 3 dog’s that have been on enough camp outs with the troop they would earn the camping merit badge. They have even went to summer camp for the last two years. the only problem we had at summer camp we never knew which troop or crew’s tent they spent the night in. lol all the boys loved them…

  48. The joke is I have 3 dog’s that have been on enough camp outs with the troop they would earn the camping merit badge. They have even went to summer camp for the last two years. the only problem we had at summer camp we never knew which troop or crew tent they spent the night in. lol

    • William Anno // April 1, 2016 at 5:55 pm // Reply

      Have they earned the rank of Tenderpaw yet?
      And what kind of court of honor will be held when they obtain the rank of Beagle Scout!

  49. Very Rev. John T. Bacon // April 1, 2016 at 12:55 pm // Reply

    What square knot can I earn in this program?

    Otherwise, forget it ……….

  50. Is this open to just boy dogs or girls also?

  51. James DiNola // April 1, 2016 at 1:07 pm // Reply

    Haha April fools!!

  52. Chad Phillips // April 1, 2016 at 1:08 pm // Reply

    What no rat scouts that’s discrimination against rat kind everywhere you all should be ashamed of yourselves, my rat has strategicly placed a rat trap where you will least expect it.

  53. Compared to last year’s spoof? Lame.

  54. Laura Bakken // April 1, 2016 at 1:14 pm // Reply

    My pups have ALWAYS been Beagle Scouts.

  55. Robert Keller // April 1, 2016 at 1:52 pm // Reply

    Our 4 dogs have already formed their own den under our bed, it’s nice dark plus we have to give them treats to come out unless someone rings the doorbell

  56. Charlie Chaplain // April 1, 2016 at 2:24 pm // Reply

    Well this certainly puts the BS, in bsa . Funny read.

  57. Michel Renaud // April 1, 2016 at 2:27 pm // Reply

    I love that one!

  58. Karl Shelton // April 1, 2016 at 3:06 pm // Reply

    SEARCH & RESCUE!! And with all deference to Silver Buffalo Charles Schultz, there must be a Beagle Scout rank.

  59. Thanks for reminding me it’s 4-1 today!

  60. Kelly Carrico // April 1, 2016 at 5:31 pm // Reply

    First STEM Scouts and now Puppy Scouts…..they are digging deep.

  61. Kelly Carrico // April 1, 2016 at 5:33 pm // Reply

    Good April Fools joke

  62. Jim Peterson // April 1, 2016 at 6:21 pm // Reply

    Apparently I am the Council’s Puppy Scout Commissioner. At least according to a Facebook post from my DE/son.

  63. No, No, No, that is not correct.
    The new program combines the Pet Care Merit Badge and the Cooking Merit Badge. The new program thus allows a Scout to earn the equivalent of two Merit Badges in one fail swoop.

  64. Scouter Scott // April 1, 2016 at 7:13 pm // Reply

    Already, there are protests planned because only male dogs will be allowed to join.

  65. Please tell me this is a joke!

  66. Ron Murphy // April 2, 2016 at 11:14 pm // Reply

    Come on Brian!
    Be more original!
    This is not a April Fools joke!

  67. Top rank is Beagle Scout!

  68. Great program!
    I signed Chance and Tucker up just last week.
    They’re working on their “Fire Hydrant Recognition” and “Mailman Pursuit” merit badges…

    • Sending my Eagle Scout Son’s reply to my forwarding of the April 1 article.

  69. My service dog Portia has her own Cub Scout uniform and was made an honorary Wolf in January, after attending for four years. We will be chaperones at day-camp for our fifth year.
    I would totally enroll her in Puppy Scouts, but she sees other dogs as a threat to my safety and is aggressive towards them. And yes, I know this is just an April fools article.

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