Warning: possibly distressing content
TikTok has been home to heaps of cute vids based on pet trends. There’s adorable footage showing how dogs react to certain sounds that they love, cats making their way through obstacle courses, people dancing with their pets, and of course, the hide-and-seek #blanketchallenge.
However, in the past few weeks, a new trend has surfaced, and it’s more dangerous than delightful.
It’s usually hashtagged #TalkingSmack and sees dog owners getting in their pup’s faces as they mouth along to audio of a woman saying in a hammed-up voice how she’s been taking tae kwon do lessons “in the back of a Walmart Supercentre” so people should stop talking smack about her.
Many of the videos seem harmless with dogs either ignoring their owners, barely reacting, or just looking confused.
But some dogs are visibly upset in the videos, which could be dangerous.
One veterinarian shared on her TikTok why the trend needs to stop, posting a video of a very unhappy dog and explaining how if the human’s behaviour continues, the dog will lash out and bite whoever is getting in their face, even if it is their owner.
@cat_the_vetPLEASE stop posting videos like this! Do you want to be responsible for a maimed child?! ##notsafe ##doNOTtrythisathome ##catthevet♬ original sound – Cat The Vet
Another expert, dog trainer and behaviorist Joe Nutkins, told Newsweek:
“We can often tell if a dog really isn’t comfortable about something just because they just don’t ‘look comfortable’, but they can also give quite clear warning signs too.
“To watch some of the videos was actually quite disturbing really. The majority, if not all, of the videos that I have seen show dogs turning their head a little bit to one side. It might literally just be turning a couple of centimetres slightly to one side away from the owner.
“Then they actually do what’s called ‘whale eye’ which is where the dog turns their head a little bit and then they actually turn their eyes the other way as far as they can. The idea is they show the whites of their eyes as much as possible, trying to indicate that they are not liking the situation.”
Nutkins went on to say, “One of the biggest risks is that you will force your dog to feel so threatened and so worried that they feel they’ve already given many signals and warnings to say ‘please don’t do this’ but they’re left with one last resort. That last resort is going to be to turn round and bite.”
Even if your dog didn’t wind up biting you, by engaging in the TikTok trend and upsetting your pooch, you could be harming the bond and the trust you already have with your pet.