Dogs are like family for most canine owners. In this particular case, singer Jake Owen brings his family on the road with him ... in the form of his English bulldogs! Owen tells PEOPLE that he has two of 'em: Vern and Merle. Merle, an adorable white pup, is currently on the road with" Dad," as Vern has since retired from touring life.

"Vern was out for a few years," Owen says. "We retired him from the road. He became lonesome and ornery. And mean!" Since Vern is 3, he's a little older, wiser and less tolerant of traveling. Bulldogs are notoriously sedentary animals who prefer sleep to activity, so Vern is probably happier at home than on a tour bus. Managing one dog on the road is a handful, so it's probably wiser for Owen to only bring one pup on the road at a time, anyway.

Since Merle is newer to the exciting touring lifestyle, and since he is a puppy, he seems to be enjoying it more. Owen even says that the pooch is "living the life of a desperado." He also says that the dog likes to sleep in the front lounge. "Once he passes out, he's out," Owen explains. The singer admits that he has since gotten away from "the whole sleeping in bed thing" with his pooches since they shed.

It's quite OK with Merle, though. Owen says, "He stays up front. He likes it though!"

Merle will celebrate his first birthday in late October.

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