And a pat on the back,
Irrespective of a digital community of followers, strategies for adoption videos, or puppy starter toolkits, those items serve as guidelines to mold a dog in line with its human likeness. In this case, this desired configuration was accomplished through a symbolic gesture of a “dog paw” on a “human hand”, and a “pat on the back” in the shape of a snack for Mylo, Dakota, Strider, and Bella.
The "pat on the back" gesture exemplifies the anthropocentric viewpoint that denigrates dogs as mere instruments for fulfilling human desires. Whether it be for the purpose of garnering online popularity, as in the case of Strider, or for entertaining a child, as in the case of Mylo, the desire for control over dogs reveals the human domination over other species, even in situations where commands such as “give paw” serve no practical purpose.23
A desire that often disregards the needs of “Bella”, in favor of satisfying human pleasure.
To some people, a dog's submission to command is desirable in itself. Power over another being is demonstrably firm and perversely delicious when it is exercised for no particular purpose and when submission to it goes against the victim's strong desires and nature”.
Tuan,Yi-Fu. Dominance & Affection:
The Making of Pets (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016
Back to Earth, the archetype's digital caricature on YouTube may not always reflect reality. In fact, Strider’s disobedience in refusing to give its paw was applauded and deemed as valuable content for the digital realm. However, what would happen if things did not go as planned? Would “Bella’s” failure to comply still result in a surge of 10.000 followers on its digital account?
Or would this affect “Bella’s” privileged
status as a companion dog?24
On how the refusing actions mentioned by Irvine and Cilia can terminate the dog-human relationship: “Some pets gain the status of family members only as long as they comply with the code of conduct established for them. Issues of cleanliness, training, shedding, scratching, house soiling, aggression, chewing, barking, and other animal behaviors can strain and terminate the inclusion of pets in families”
Irvine, Leslie, and Laurent Cilia.
“More than Human Families: Pets, People, and Practices in Multispecies Households.” Sociology CCompass 11, no. 2 (2017))