Animal lovers not amused by viral videos of pets in ‘funny situations’

If you like watching ‘cute’ animal videos, chances are that you’ve come across visuals of people hitting a soft toy to get a reaction from their dog to have medicine or food. While it might coax you to hit 'Like' or 'LOL', experts say that these trending videos are anything but funny for the dog.

Fear mongering is not entertainment
Animal communicator Akshaya Kawle, says, "Every animal is as individual and unique as humans, with different and distinct personalities, likes, dislikes, fears, and insecurities. Some can even have trauma triggered by the actions in the videos. Worse still, the animal can suffer physical hurt as well. These are just few things subjecting an animal to the kind of situation as seen in these viral videos can lead to," she says, adding that it can even lead to the animal losing trust in humans. "Just the way we wouldn’t do these things to children owing to the possible negative effects, same should be for animals as well. Fear mongering should never be a form of entertainment," she warns.

A subtle form of animal cruelty

If you think, hitting a your pet’s favourite cuddly toy, is a harmless exercise, then think again. Sudha S Narayanan from Charlies Animal Rescue Centre (CARE), who has been working with dogs for over a decade, feels that pretend beating your pet’s toy is harrowing for the pet. "It is like trying to implicate that you can do this to the dog also. There is no humour in seeing your dogs petrified and puzzled and is definitely something a dog lover should not do. This is a subtle form of animal cruelty," says Sudha. Toni Freer, an animal activist and dog rescuer chimes in, "The dog gets afraid of toys or knives and their protection instinct goes away."

Try positive forms of engagement

One might wonder whether there are better ways to train your pets? "Absolutely yes! Positive reinforcement is the best form of training tools. Figure out activities that your pet enjoys, rather than scaring them. Use things and activities they enjoy as rewards to reiterate positive behaviour. Punishment rarely works with humans, and the same goes with animals. It just creates mistrust and misunderstanding and can strain your bond with them," says Akshaya. In fact, a stern 'No' sometimes does the trick. "A firm tone in itself is enough to make your pet not do something that they are not supposed to do," says Sudha.

Teach Your Dog to Catch Using Popcorn. If your dog doesn’t know how to catch don’t start by throwing a toy at their face. Popcorn works great for training dogs to catch because it’s light & yummy which makes it enticing enough for your dog to try and catch it.

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