let the dogs out. Let loose, drop inhibitions. Go for the gold. Give it your all. Let your inner canine howl, perhaps.
Unlike loosing the hounds, letting the dogs out is usually not a matter of siccing a predator on anyone, except perhaps yourself. The phrase tends to turn up in genre fiction, especially titles aimed at a female audience. In Annabel Dilke describes a tryst in The Inheritance: “...they'd filch some strawberries and trifle from the kitchen. They could let the dogs out. They might take advantage of the empty billiards room.”
And, at times there may be a predatory, though not violent, character to the act. Chick lit author Roz Bailey serves up the line in Girls' Night Out. After one character admits that she is “dating way out of my league. Me, going out with a billionaire financier,” her friend responds, “Oooooh! I knew you'd let the dogs out!”
1. Dilke, Annabel. 2005. The Inheritance. 1st U.S. ed. New York: St. Martin's Press.
2. Bailey, Roz. 2005. Girls' Night Out. New York: Kensington Books.