Experts are worried that a recent TikTok craze in which people are encouraged to “bark at your dog” would cause the animals to become confused, afraid, or even aggressive.
Bark at Your Dog: Confusion and Apprehension May Ensue
TikTok’s “bark at your dog” fad may seem like good fun, but it might be harmful to canines in the long run. There have been several videos on the site illustrating this fad that have amassed over 300 million views in the last month, however upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that many of the dogs featured in these clips display worrying behaviors, such as aggressiveness and fear. Jenna Stregowski, a pet health and behavior specialist with years of expertise in animal care, says that large eyes, retreating, flattened ears, bared teeth, and a sluggishly waving tail are all signs of worry or discomfort.
Bark at Your Dog: Unwanted Behavioral Modifications and Conditioning
Dogs can be conditioned to fear or avoid people who bark at them on a regular basis. If this problem persists, it might put a strain on the dog’s bond with its owner. Stregowski cautions against partaking in this fad and instead recommends engaging in more constructive bonding activities with dogs, such as playing outside or giving them belly massages.
Confusion and Muddled Messages
Humans’ barking might be confusing to dogs since they could think it’s an alarm or warning sound. The temperament and body language of their owners might also influence dogs’ reactions. Some dogs may behave as though they like the encounter by licking the human’s face, but this might actually be an attempt to calm the person down, much as how dogs calm each other down by licking each other’s muzzles.
The Proper Way to Tackle This
Stregowski recommends testing the dog’s reaction to barking from a safe distance, rather than right in front of its face. If the dog responds in an unwanted way, it is advisable to use instructions like “sit” or “stay” to redirect its behavior. As this method reduces the likelihood of startling or confusing the dog. The owner and dog must have a mutually trustworthy connection for this to work.
Warning About Social Media
We do not encourage sharing footage of dogs that appear to be in a playful mood. Putting up films like these, “bark at your dog”, might encourage other people to attempt the fad with their own dogs, which could have disastrous results. Experts recommend that, instead of following this fad, dog owners focus on doing things that foster pleasant relationship and the health of their pets.