Cute or cruel? Viral 'walking' dog sparks abuse concerns

Running along a street, frizzy brown hair bobbing up and down, carrying a cute backpack, it looks like an excited little girl going to school.

And then the figure looks back to the camera to reveal that it is not a girl, but a dog!

I, for one, did not think this video was cute. Instead, I was horrified!

A dog has four legs for a reason. It is unnatural for it to walk on its two hind legs.

The video has been shared by millions, and the brown poodle in the video is named Dou Dou.

Dou Dou is now an Internet sensation, with many Chinese netizens saying it's the cutest thing they have ever seen.

The canine's owner dresses Dou Dou up in a number of costumes, and the dog reportedly has almost a hundred outfits.

The dog's owner, named Wen, insists that he did not train her to walk on her hind legs and she was not abused. Rather, he says Dou Dou walks like that by choice.

But I highly doubt that walking on its hind legs is a natural talent for a four-legged animal.

This trend of having your dog walking on two legs is not new.

A search on YouTube found several other owners proudly showing off their dogs walking on two legs.

Plus, there are just as many videos teaching owners how to train their dog to walk on their hind legs or fore legs.

Many are accusing pet owners who train their dog to walk on two legs of animal abuse.

Videos of cruel and inhumane training tactics have surfaced on the Internet.

One video in particular shows a poodle standing on its hind legs against the wall, visibly cowering and shaking in fear as the owner threatens to hit it with a slipper.

I am sure that everyone will agree that such a training tactic is not cute at all.

It just goes to show that some of these "cute" animal videos may not be so cute after you learn how they were trained to perform these unnatural tricks.

Malaysian Animal Welfare Society president Shenaaz Khan said that such tricks are unnatural.

"Animals being made to entertain their owners is quite repulsive," said Shenaaz.

"Granted I get a thrill out of watching my cats run helter-skelter over some string and crushed paper. But that's their natural behaviour," she said.

She said making pets walk on only two of their four legs is a form of cruelty masked as "cuteness", likening the tricks to circus acts.

Malaysian Dogs Deserve Better (MDDB) director and rescue coordinator Irene Low said that training dogs to walk on two legs is a form of animal cruelty.

"I am against all forms of training which alter a dog's natural characteristics and disposition," said Low.

"I strongly believe that it is both cruel and ridiculous to train dogs to entertain people," she said.

Low said owners who train their dogs to walk on two paws should be booked for inflicting animal cruelty.

However, I must concede that not all dogs who walk on two legs are abused or trained through cruel means.

But even if no abuse was involved, and the dog is trained based on positive reinforcement, I worry for the dog's health if this 'trick' is done long term.

Surely a dog's small knee caps cannot support the weight of its entire body.

Dogs are also known to suffer from arthritis, wear and tear on the joints, and other medical conditions. But all in all, I really do not understand the need to dress up your dog like a human and make it walk like one.

Especially if video footage of the dog is uploaded online to garner attention from the public.

I just find it disturbing to see some owners anthropomorphise their pets.

It is not cute to see a dog behave like a human. Dogs are dogs. Forcing a dog to do human things is just cruel!