Should you participate in dog shaming?

What is dog shaming? From the name, it sounds like a rather terrible thing, doesn’t it? Simply put, it’s the act of publicly posting your dog’s bad behaviors, attempting to get the dog to own up to its bad habits or disobedience. Usually, this is seen in the form of a photo where the dog in question is either wearing or sitting next to a sign declaring what it is “admitting” to doing or “apologizing” for. Here are a few examples:

Dog-Shaming-1-637x849 DSC_0006-637x455 dog_shaming_2724601b


Now, these all seem pretty humorous on the surface, don’t they? Absolutely! In fact, dog shaming is such a popular meme these days, there are dozens, if not hundreds of blogs and websites now devoted to it. But is it as harmless as it looks? That’s the latest debate.

Some vets and pet experts claim that the animals viewed in such photos are often exhibiting signs of fear or anxiety. Because of a dog’s emotional awareness, experts say pets can know when they’re being “mocked” or made fun of, and this can undermine their dignity or make them apprehensive and even more likely to act out again, or in other ways. Other dog experts ask whether the humans who are doing this to dogs would be as willing to treat their other two-legged family members the same way. If not, why do it to the four-legged ones?

Caroline Kisko, secretary of the Kennel Club, studied this trend and commented: “It might be a bit of fun, when it is kept to a reasonable level, but people take them too far and it stops being funny for the dog. Dogs have a level of dignity and we don’t want to undermine that. They are meant to be a companion, not a joke.”

Do you agree? Have you ever posted a dog shaming photo to Twitter, Facebook, or your blog? Admittedly, we’ve even posted some on our Facebook page, but now we’re reconsidering whether we’ll do so in the future. It’s true that it can be quite funny, and we all can relate to the many naughty behaviors that are being exposed by this trend, but maybe we should start scaling it back some and let our pups keep the dignity they deserve. What do you think?

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