07/26/2012 at 04:00 PM EDT
In early July, Steven Tyler announced he'd be leaving American Idol
to focus on making music with Aerosmith. But his departure from the show also freed him up to spend more time with other loves – his dogs.
"[I have] a Yorkie and a Morkie," he tells TIME
. "One is a teacup I put in my pocket. And the other one I put in a sling over my shoulder, and I walk around, and it's the cutest f–––ing thing on the planet.
After battling drug addiction for years and entering rehab multiple times, Tyler confesses that his now-sober lifestyle
can get lonely at times, which is when he turns to his pooches for support.
"Dogs have a lot of love," he says. "They sleep right next to my neck."
In addition, the duo also helps the rocker stay in line, filling the void left by his former hard-partying habits.
"I miss going out to a club, yakking it up. So I talk to my dogs," Tyler says. "When I'm listening to final mixes [I'll say] 'You think Joe's solo should be a little louder?'"