The phrase "My dog has fleas" has been long used as a mnemonic device to aid ukulele players in the tuning of the instrument. Each word of the phrase is sung in the note order of G, C, E, and A — the standard tuning of a ukulele, from top to bottom string.
The origins of the phrase and its association with the ukulele instrument is unknown. The reference to "fleas" in the phrase possibly refers to the word "ukulele" itself, a Hawaiian word dating back to the late nineteenth century which literally means "jumping flea."
- In a 1964 sketch from The Jimmy Dean Show, Rowlf the Dog tunes a ukulele for his and Jimmy's performance of "You Are My Sunshine" and croons, "My man has fleas..." (to the delight of Jimmy and the audience).
- In the Muppets' 1971 Ed Sullivan Show performance of "The String Quartet" sketch, the quartet ends their now completely wild and jazzy performance by simultaneously shouting the phrase.