Ken, I have used clamps when working alone to hold one end of timber while I deal with the other. Those curved sticks some times have a mind of their own, they don't behave as a straight piece. Dogs, I imagine, would bump the timber too much when setting them or at least a chance of it. Maybe I am seeing the dogs used for a different purpose than NH is proposing?
I do like my dividers. I am starting to use them more for copying small increments in trim work and such. My big set will stretch out to 24" I don't need the tape measure. No more holding on 1" or trying to stick the hook end of the tape into a tight corner, or guessing where the fraction is on the bend of the tape. Yes, dividers/compass would surely be on the list.