Bad Dog! is an Animal Planet series that showcases viral caught on video moments of animals behaving terribly and doing things they're not supposed to be doing and still get unconditional love from their owners. The series highlights dogs that double as destroyers, hissing cats, cussing parrots, and the most fascinating four-legged escape artists ever caught on tape. Bad Dog! is very similar to America’s Funniest Videos, in which various clips and videos are gathered together and hosted under one title or theme.
Each video that's nominated has a narrated backstory that’s told by the owners of the misbehaving animal, detailing how their pet’s rise to fame all started. At the end of the show, one video is chosen for "Baddest of the Bad," again very similar to America’s Funniest Videos. Bad Dog! started as a pilot episode on August 28, 2010 then it became a full series a year later in September 2011.
The series stands as an affront, almost, to previous shows that were desperate to train terribly misbehaving dogs into models of obedience. Shows like The Dog Whisperer on the National Geographic Channel seem to believe that the happiest way to cohabitate with your canine companion is if and only if that companion behaves as you want him or her to do. The producers over at Animal Planet, however, seem to have an entirely different outlook entirely. Instead of training a dog (or cat or parrot or monkey), they believe it’s better and easier to just let your companion run him or herself wild, with the biting, scratching, furniture ripping and garden destruction that seems to come to them so naturally.
In the age of YouTube, where even the most mundane moments seem to find themselves showcased to hundreds of viewers, Animal Planet’s Bad Dog! has taken to the streets to find the most misbehaving animals there are and, instead of doing anything to reform their behavior, simply lets the cameras roll. Or, as is the case, lets the owner’s cameras roll.
The most interesting aspect of Bad Dog! isn’t necessarily the beautiful display of animals being animals and their humans trying desperately to deal with them. While entertaining, that’s nothing really out of the ordinary. What’s most intriguing about this show is the amount of learning that you can do while simply laughing and having a good time. Humans are more inclined to say a pet is misbehaving, not because of any actual bad behavior, but because the human feels outwitted and overpowered by the sheer brilliance of his or her companion. No one wants to be outwitted, and very least of all by an animal that licks its own butt on occasion. So when these animals demonstrate just how utterly brilliant they are—some of them just shy of the proper hand-eye coordination necessary to drive a car—it’s an eye-opener that serves to remind us that our animal companions aren’t dim-witted creatures. They’re forever growing and forever learning in the environments that we provide for them, and it’s up to us to constantly challenge them.