Toto. Lassie. Beethoven. These hounds of Hollywood all had agents, assistants, and other ways of getting into show business. Today’s dogs have it easy—they don’t need any of those things. They have TikTok.
But where’s a talented terrier to start? In this short how-to guide, puppies and parents alike can learn how to cash in on their star power.
Every Dog Needs a Gimmick
There are thousands of cute dogs online, from the popular French bulldog to the illusive Afghan hound. In today’s digital landscape, being cute isn’t enough. A dog needs to have something that sets it apart––a gimmick, if you will.
Some ideas include:
- Having the dog partake in TikTok challenges. Dogs can participate in many of the same challenges that influencers do. Take the #ShowUsYourDrawers challenge. Here, creators would open a random drawer and show subscribers what’s inside. Maybe a dog could do this––perhaps with a treat jar or toybox.
- Keeping up with the latest fashion trends. An American bully sitting on the couch? Pretty cute. An American bully wearing Beats headphones? Iconic. Hilarious. Just be sure your furry friend is comfortable with donning outfits and putting on a fashion show!
- Making people laugh. Who doesn’t love a dog that chases its tail or drinks water from the refrigerator? What’s great about this is that humor transcends language barriers, meaning you can reach a wide audience with the right TikTok.
- Focusing on a cause. Some of the most popular TikTok pages are rescues and humane societies that create content about their organizations. If your dog visits sick people in the hospital or fosters street dogs, this could be the emotional connection viewers crave.
Some influencers push what their dog is comfortable with for likes and subscribers. Remember: your dog’s the star here! And they deserve star treatment. Be sure to monitor your dog’s bodily language on and off camera.
Let Your Dog Tell a Story
It would be great if your border collie could sit down in front of the fireplace and read a picture book. But sadly, we’re not there yet. In the meantime, it’s up to you to have your dog tell a story. After all, that’s what TikTok is at the end of the day: a platform to tell stories.
Here are some tips:
- Identify a theme or message. First, identify the story you’re trying to tell. Are you sharing your dog’s favorite meal? Are they recalling the day they were adopted?
- Begin with a hook. The average TikTok user is on the platform for more than an hour each day. In that time, they can watch hundreds of videos, with the first few seconds determining whether they’ll continue watching a clip. Make the first few seconds exciting! Reel them in.
- Show progression. Every story, even those that are 10 seconds long, has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Think about how you want your video to end. Does the viewer get a resolution, or should they follow for part two?
Keep it simple, because, let’s face it: people aren’t on TikTok to think.
Film Quality Is Important!
You don’t need to run out and buy a million-dollar camera to film your dog riding on a skateboard. You usually just need your phone and the software that comes with it. Yet, filming your dog is more than whipping out your phone and pressing “record”; a big part of being a TikTok star is having good film quality.
Some tips include:
- Good lighting. It’s important for people to actually see the dog in the video. You could try adjusting the lightning and filters based on the dog’s coloring to make them the video’s focus.
- Shooting videos at the dog’s eye level. This perspective promotes engagement and lets users see things from the dog’s point of view. Also, it’s a good opportunity to show off your dog’s unique features.
- Taking a variety of shots. TikTok users want videos that are visually stimulating. Mix up shots, experimenting with different angles. Capture your dog’s expressions and reactions––people love that.
There’s also something called “the rule of thirds.” It’s a technique that videographers use to get solid footage. Imagine a three-by-three grid when shooting a video. You want the dog’s features (eyes, for instance) to align with the squares on the grid or where they intersect. You can learn more about this theory by checking out this YouTube video.
Patience Is Key to Creating Good Content
Unless your dog is trained to do things on command, you could find yourself filming for a few hours just to get a few seconds of footage. Patience is key in a situation like this. Great content is seldom made in a day. Plus, dogs pick up on their owners’ moods, and the stress of feeling rushed or under pressure could reflect poorly on video––or even make filming take longer.
Some ways to make filming a pleasurable experience for both you and your pet include:
- Taking frequent breaks
- Using high-value treats as rewards
- Practicing repetition
- Remaining positive
- Filming in short increments
- Engaging their favorite toys
Setting realistic expectations is also key to getting the perfect shot. Will your dog, who’s never ridden a skateboard be Tony Hawk in an afternoon? Probably not. Could they gradually master complicated tricks with practice? Even old dogs can learn new tricks.
It Takes Time to Cultivate Subscribers
On the outside looking in, it seems as though some dogs become stars overnight. Unless your video goes viral, this likely won’t happen. To make your dog a TikTok star, you’ll have to engage with users, routinely upload content, and monitor certain metrics.
Take it from here: making your dog a TikTok star should be a journey, not a destination. You’ll likely spend a lot of afternoons filming your dog doing the same thing over and over again. But hey, in the meantime, even if your pooch only gets a few dedicated followers, it’s the memories you spend together that really count.