look for a dog to kick

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look for a dog to kick

To seek out someone to blame or castigate, especially someone who is not at fault. (Usually said in the continuous tense.) My dad had a famously short fuse when we were growing up, so we soon learned to get out of his way when he was looking for a dog to kick. The troubled economy is the result of many factors, but the president is usually the first one blamed by voters looking for a dog to kick.
See also: dog, kick, look