A brief history of dog shaming

A broken plate in the background with a guilty looking dog in the foreground

If you're a dog person, or even a cat person, you've probably seen the #dogshaming meme – a trendy new word for images and themes that spread around the internet like wildfire. If you haven't, check it out: pet owners are sharing cute pics of their dogs when they've been naughty.

Dog shaming started on Tumblr in 2012, with a photo showing a Dachshund that had got into the laundry.  By the next day, The Daily Dot, The Huffington Post and MSN had published their own pet shaming articles – and so the dogshaming meme was born.

In praise of praising our pets

Fun, yes, but dog shaming does create imbalance in the world. It doesn't do that much harm to our often oblivious pets, but as we're open to criticizing their behaviour, isn't it only fair that we congratulate them when they're good too?

That's why we are promoting the #petpraising hashtag.

A cat sitting on a toilet reading a piece of paper

Has your cat learned to use the toilet? Has your dog mastered the handshake? Do you have a story of pet heroism to share? For all the shameful behaviour our pets may exhibit, once in a while they do something so clever, so cute, so beneficial to our lives that we just want to share their brilliance with the world.

Celebrating good behaviour

And how better to celebrate them than on social media, where we have been shamefully flaunting their bad behaviour for months with the #dogshaming and #petshaming hashtags?

This dashing dog, for instance, was the model employee for his owner's friend.

A dog standing by a food bowl. By the food bowl is a piece of paper with writing that says "I behaved when my mums friend took me into work...even though there was another dog there".

Praising our canine companions has an added benefit, too. A recent study conducted by a team from Emory University in Georgia, USA, found that most dogs prefer praise to treats. 

Sometimes, our pet's gesture is small, but it's such a welcome break from their usual zaniness that it deserves praise.

For example, this clever cat broke tradition to save his owner an unpleasant wake up in the morning.

A cat with a pice of paper in fron of it saying "I didn't bring a 'present' in from outside today!"

We want your #petpraising pics

Share your snaps with us on our Facebook page and on Twitter using the hashtag #petpraising and by mentioning @lv in your tweet.

We will select our favourites and create a new article on @heart featuring your most praiseworthy pets.