The recent TikTok trend of barking at our beloved canine companions might seem like harmless fun, but it could be causing more confusion and stress for our furry friends than we realize.
Jenna Stregowski, a Registered Veterinary Technician and the pet health and behavior editor at Daily Paws, has raised concerns about the trend. While each dog’s response can vary, many videos participating in this trend, which has accumulated over 300 million views in the past month, depict dogs displaying signs of distress or even aggression.
“Consistently doing this might make your dog anxious or wary of you,” warns Stregowski, highlighting the potential negative impact of the trend on our pets.
Even if some dogs appear to tolerate their human’s barking, perceiving it as playful interaction, Stregowski strongly advises against participating in the trend. Instead, she encourages dog owners to engage in more conventional bonding activities such as playing fetch or offering their furry companions affectionate pats.
“Barking at your dog might do more harm than good,” she concludes.
The TikTok trend involves owners sitting with their dogs, positioned close enough for their pets to pick up on the vibes. Suddenly, they unleash their best dog impression, either by mimicking a dog’s bark themselves or using pre-recorded barks from the app. The spotlight shifts to the dog as owners eagerly await their reactions.
In several trending videos, the dogs’ responses are unmistakable. Their wide-eyed expressions indicate potential aggression, according to Stregowski, who boasts over two decades of experience in the field. Other dogs manifest their unease differently, with some startled dogs backing away, others tucking their ears back, and some even resorting to growling or displaying their teeth. Surprisingly, a slow tail wag, often interpreted as a sign of relaxation, might, in reality, signal anxiety, according to Stregowski.
Curiously, some dogs respond by affectionately licking their owners after the sudden bark. However, this seemingly sweet gesture may be a way for dogs to pacify their humans, much like they would with other dogs.
So why do dogs react in these ways? Stregowski believes it’s a combination of surprise and confusion. Dogs aren’t accustomed to humans mimicking their sounds, and most of the barks mimic warning signals. Additionally, the sudden shift in their owner’s behavior can be disorienting.
While some dogs may find this amusing, others could perceive it as a threat, potentially leading to unintended harm. Therefore, Stregowski strongly advises against the practice, especially when done up close.
bruh this shit has me WHEEZING #fyp
If you’re still keen on seeing your dog’s reaction, it’s safer to do so from a distance and ensure you can guide your pet with familiar commands. However, Stregowski recommends keeping these moments private.
“Even if your dog seems entertained, sharing the video might encourage others to try it, leading to unforeseen consequences with their pets,” Stregowski warns. It’s a reminder to prioritize our pets’ well-being over social media trends.