The earlier strips had Dennis' Dad almost continuously spanking him with a slipper, usually to no effect; the only thing that could make an impression was Granny's legendary "Demon Whacker" slipper made from the hide of an African Elephant. This was phased out as corporal punishment of children fell out of favour.
In one old strip, Dennis' Dad spanks him for falling in luminous paint, even though it was an accident. In another, Dennis leaves home, and his parents repeatedly appeal for him to come home, but when he does, it turns out they wanted him back because he had accidentally taken the Darts Club funds with him — there's no indication that they were worried about their only child (then he gets spanked for running away).
Viewer Gender Confusion: The gender Foo Foo, Walter's pet poodle, seems inconsistent. It isn't just Gender Equals Breed expectations, Foo Foo also wears a pink ribbon, so many readers thought it was female, but the dog was usually referred to with male pronouns in the comics. However, in the animated TV series Foo Foo was referred to as female.