You see that guy there? They're crawling around on all fours, and... are they sniffing that guy's butt? Who do they think they are?
A dog, of course.
There's plenty of Shapeshifting tropes, but this one is different. You see, these characters don't actually change form, they just think they do. This is whenever a character believes they are a dog or any other animal without actually being it. A "Freaky Friday" Flip with an animal also doesn't count.
If faithful and well-behaved it might actually make a good Human Pet. All Animals Are Dogs might be explained if other non-dog animals are under the same delusion. If the deluded character is actually good at mimicking a dog, that may be because The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body. Do not confuse with Delusion of Godhood, which is something else.
- Shokora in Massugu ni Ikou is a dog who believes himself to be a human. He's eventually convinced by the other dogs that this can't possibly be the case... so by the next time they meet him, he's switched to believing that he's a cat instead.
- In My Mental Choices Are Completely Interfering with My School Romantic Comedy, Chocolat acts like a dog at times. She instantly obeys orders to "fetch", "shake", "sit", etc.
- One of the strongest heroes in One-Punch Man is Watchdog Man, a guy in a dog suit who protects his part of the city. Hero Killer Garou went up against him and only escaped because the fight strayed away from the neighborhood. Even more humiliating is the fact that his "moves" consist of "shaking hands", rolling over and other pet tricks. Garou is a genius martial artist who specializes in defeating other human fighters, but Watchdog Man doesn't fight like a human, he fights like a playful dog.
- Pokémon: The Series :
- In one episode, a bunch of kids get accidentally hypnotized by a Hypno into thinking they're Pokémon.
- In another episode, Ash gets hypnotized into thinking he's a Bulbasaur.
- Princess Mononoke's San, who adamantly believes she's a wolf and even wears a wolf pelt to look the part. Justified, since she was literally Raised by Wolves after her birth parents were caught intruding in Morro's forest and abandoned San when she was an infant to save themselves.
- Ranma from Ranma ˝ has an extreme fear of cats. If he is isolated with a cat in a very small space, or when he can no longer cope with his fear of cats, he begins behaving like a cat himself and becomes a master of the "Cat Fu".
- Sket Dance: Distracted by a cat while hypnotizing himself, Tsubaki started acting like a cat. It took some time before he stopped meowing.
- Kaori Yuuzaki does this in The World God Only Knows, sniffing to find the scent of a perfume she tagged someone with earlier. However, considering her personality, in context it is creepy as hell.
- Delicious in Dungeon: Drawing on his experience with hunting dogs, Laios flushes out a hidden monster by getting down on all fours and barking and snarling furiously at it to intimidate it into a confrontation. It works. Unfortunately, he gets too into his role and leaps at it, fully intending to attack a giant fox-monster larger than he is with just his nails and teeth.
- Happens many time in the Disney Ducks Comic Universe.
- In Carl Barks' story "Trala La", Scrooge McDuck has a nervous breakdown from over-work and starts acting like a squirrel.
- One story about Gyro Gearloose has the inventor try to figure out why the bird sings. After inventing various machines to answer this question, the story ends with him behaving like a bird.
- A story about Donald Duck has him see a hypnotist to help with his phobia of cats. The hypnotist puts him under and instructs him that every time he sees a cat, he's to imagine that he's a big German shepherd. This causes Donald to start chasing after every cat he sees while barking furiously.
- In New Mutants, Catseye of the Hellions thought she was an actual cat who could take human form rather than the reverse, having been abandoned by her parents and raised by a feral cat.
- In X-Men, the Xavier Institute once had a student named Overlay, whose power was that he could induce this.
- In Beetle Bailey, Beetle once hypnotises Sarge to think he's whatever he secretly wants to be, making him act like a lion. He also accidentally affects General Halftrack, but he doesn't "become" an animal: "Have you gone mad! I'm an airplane!" (Paraphrased.)
- In Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin can transmogrify himself into any kind of animal, but from his mom's perspective he's always shown as a six-year-old boy. This is particularly evident in the arc where Calvin believes he's stuck as an owl.
- Crabgrass: In this comic, after deciding that being a dog would be more fun, Miles and Kevin decide to give it a try. Their antics happen off panel, but Miles' father can be seen commenting on it.
- In one Dilbert arc, Dilbert told an annoying marketing rep that he would reprogram his office computer to emit radiation that would slowly mutate him into a weasel. While Dilbert didn't actually do anything to the man's computer, he was so gullible that he started transforming anyway.
- In this Garfield comic, Jon's neighbors think he's succumbed to this when they see him chasing a car on all fours with his dog Odie. Strictly speaking, Jon knows he's not a dog; he's just decided to imitate Odie for a while because he's bored and Odie seems to always find ways of entertaining himself.
- In SnarfQuest, the evil dragon Kizarvexius was struck in the head by lightning during a powerful storm, and forgot who or what he was. Suthaze cursed the dragon into believing that he was a duck named Willie. Thus, Suthaze gained a powerful servant that could be easily controlled.
- In Child of the Storm, Harry considers using the Discworld variant on Jean's cheating ex-boyfriend instead of actually turning him into a frog (apparently doing that not only has ethical issues, but also practical ones - one annoying person quickly ends up spawning a million irritating frogs). However, with a little regret, he opts not to as it would probably be a breach of Mind over Manners.
- Harry Potter and the Discworld, Umbridge unwisely pushes a temporarily Hogwarts based Granny Weatherwax too far, calling her a disgrace to witchcraft, having assumed (as more than a few do) that Granny's low magic approach meant that she couldn't do magic (or was at least incompetent). Granny gives her the Stare, and the students, who've been eagerly anticipating a clash like this for ages watch... and nothing happens. Then, just as doubt starts to creep in that, horror of horrors, Umbridge might have been right... Umbridge lets out a loud ribbet and happily hops away towards the lake, Granny having pulled her signature trick of making people think that they're frogs. Umbridge then spends the next few days living on a lily pad by the lake, which somehow supports her weight, and catching flies on her tongue with surprising competence, while Colin Creevey makes a small fortune selling photos - and once it wears off, the episode contributes significantly to her ongoing Sanity Slippage. Considering Umbridge's canonical resemblance to a toad, this is rather appropriate.
- In 102 Dalmatians, there is a parrot who thinks he's a dog.
- The framing joke in Annie Hall is about someone like this.
I thought of that old joke, y'know, the, this... this guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, "Doc, uh, my brother's crazy; he thinks he's a chicken." And, uh, the doctor says, "Well, why don't you turn him in?" The guy says, "I would, but I need the eggs."
- Bark is a 2002 film about a married dogwalker who comes to suffer from the delusion that she's a dog.
- This is the overall theme of the early Nicolas Cage movie Birdy, in which Cage's friend believes he's a bird after nearly being killed at war.
- "The Cow", an Iranian classic, is about a farmer trapped in Perpetual Poverty who deluded himself into believing that he is his own recently dead cow.
- French comedy movie Didier is about a dog that's somehow turned into a human, but keeps a dog mind and Hilarity Ensues.
- In High Anxiety, there's a mental patient who thinks he's a cocker spaniel.
- The Killer (1989): Near the closing shootout of the movie, a dying Fung Sei tells Ah Jong that he doesn't know whether he's a human or a dog anymore, which may be a sign that he's close to (or has already crossed) the Despair Event Horizon as a result of the monstrously cruel No-Holds-Barred Beatdown he received at the hands of Wong Hoi, who repeatedly likened poor Sei to a dog during the beating.
- Monty Python: the Silly Olympics includes the 3,000 Meter Steeplechase for People who Think They're Chickens.
- This is the reasoning behind My Life as a Dog’s title.
- In The Three Stooges short "From Nurse to Worse", when Curly feigns insanity in order to defraud an insurance company, his apparent madness takes this form. It works too well: Curly's performance is so convincing and over the top that the doctor declares him dangerous and decides he has to operate on Curly's brain.
- This was a subplot in The Tracey Fragments, with Tracey's brother acting like a dog.
- Wild Wild West. Artemus Gordon uses a spinning spiral disc to hyponotize General "Bloodbath" McGrath. He tells McGrath that he'll be Gordon's "little doggy" and commands him to speak. McGrath makes dog sounds, and Gordon tells him to speak in words. McGrath starts growling angrily and Gordon notices that his disc has stopped spinning. McGrath then attacks Gordon while growling and snarling at him.
- The Disney film You Lucky Dog has a dog psychic played by Kirk Cameron who ends up inadvertently channeling the personality of a rich man's St. Bernard whenever he gets excited.
- At least one joke goes something like this:
Two cows are grazing in a field. First cow turns to the second and goes, "You hear about that Mad Cow Disease that's been going around?". Second cow looks over and says, "Yup, makes me glad I'm a penguin.".
- There's the classic:
Man: Doctor, you gotta help me. My son thinks he's a chicken!Doctor: Why did you take so long to tell me?Man: I needed the eggs.
- Another involves a man who keeps thinking he's a dog going to see a psychiatrist. Upon being told to lie down on the couch, he objects: "Oh no doc, I'm not allowed on the furniture".
- A psychiatrist is sitting in his office, when the door opens, and a man crawls in backswards, holding a cable in his mouth.
Doctor: Well, who do we have here? Is it a little lizard?Man: [Mumbles unclearly]Doctor: Or maybe a turtle?Man: [Spits out the cable]: Fuck off, nutpick. I'm your IT admin, I'm wiring the network around here.
- King Nebuchadnezzar from The Bible. This was brought on as a judgment against him by God to humble the haughty king and make him realize who is truly God. And his condition may have been a rare form of mental illness called boanthropy, which made him believe that he was cattle.
"Despite many threats, Granny Weatherwax had never turned anyone into a frog. The way she saw it, there was a technically less cruel but cheaper and much more satisfying thing you could do. You could leave them human and make them think they were a frog, which also provided much innocent entertainment for passers-by."Magrat: "I always felt sorry for Mr Wilkins... It was so sad watching him try to catch flies on his tongue."
- This is a speciality of Granny Weatherwax, who deems it more humane, more economical, and more amusing than the classic frog transformation.
- It should be noted that it wears off... eventually. And in the case of the above mentioned Mr Wilkins, it actually gave him a new hobby - swimming.
- The Wee Free Men also has a toad who wonders if he's a man turned into a toad or a toad cursed into believing it, with precedent for both having been shown in the series beforehand. The former is true.
- Inverted in Witches Abroad, where Lady Lilith has given a wolf human thoughts to make the Little Red Riding Hood story come true. This drives the wolf mad, and he allows the woodcutter to cut off his head.
- Teppicymon XXVII from Pyramids occasionally convinced himself he was a seagull and would "perch" atop walls and pillars, which could cause a bit of social awkwardness when people saw their pharaoh and living god act that way.
- Several characters in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Celebrated System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether".
- In Gormenghast, Lord Sepulchrave's descent into madness culminates in him believing himself to be an owl, complete with hooting and flapping his arms like wings. Bizarre as it is, it's ultimately Played for Drama as he ends up committing suicide by going to the Tower of Flints to be torn apart and devoured by the monstrous owls who live there.
- In The Hallowed Hunt, a sorceress-divine of the Bastard's Order is insulted by a passing guardnote , and she makes him believe he's a pig for a few hours.
- Cullen the Fool in The Silver Branch. How much he truly thinks he is a dog and how much is Obfuscating Insanity is left as an exercise for the reader, but he is certainly at his happiest when he is acting like a hound.
- A Song of Ice and Fire has a decidedly non-funny example in Biter. A feral child raised to fight dogs in a pit, Biter sniffs people as they walk by him, kills his enemies with his (filed) teeth, and eats his victims after the fact. He's also utterly loyal to Rorge, the man who made him into what he is.
- The protagonist of Woof Woof Story is actually a dog...because he wished, before he died, to be reborn as one. Sniffing out table scraps and fetching balls makes him happier than he's ever been before, and he is perfectly content to forget that he was ever human. note
- In one episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun Harry's pet from back on the homeworld tracks him down on Earth; the pet is transformed into a human (Bill Irwin) but acts like a dog.
Tommy: Oh, good. This'll help us be less conspicuous.
- They cover by saying he took a bullet to the brain for Harry in "that war."
- The episode "The Cat's Out of the Bag" of Dharma & Greg has Mr. Boots, who believes he's a cat. He and the episode title also serve as a metaphor for the breakup of Greg's parents Kitty and Edward.
- Kidnap victim Lydia Springs in Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency is first encountered crawling around on her arms and legs, sniffing and licking people, and whining and barking instead of speaking. It's actually the kidnapper's dog in Lydia's body, while Lydia has been put in the dog's body to make her easier to keep prisoner.
- The Horrible Histories portrayals of George III usually have him thinking he's a kangaroo, a reference to one particularly noteworthy bout of insanity he suffered.
- Played with on How I Met Your Mother when the others point out that Robin's new date is basically a dog. While he doesn't act like a dog, his behavior is reminiscent of one (running after a squirrel, chasing his "tail", etc).
- Malcolm in the Middle: In an episode of Season 6, Reese joins a pack of stray dogs and begins to adopt dog-like behavior, which worries his brother Malcolm.
- Discussed at least twice in Married... with Children:
"Lie in the sun, run in the grass, see a good-looking bitch through a chain-link fence...(singing) A dog is an animal with big, floppy ears...Oh, God!"
- The first time was in season three's "The Computer Show" where Al was trying to convince Buck to fetch his slippers, which had him crawling on all fours with said slippers in his mouth.
- Done again in the season four finale "Yard Sale" after failing to sell any of their merchandise, Al wistfully explains to the kids how great it would be to be a dog:
- In Misfits, one person gains this as a superpower. They go through bouts of thinking they're a Jack Russel, but don't shapeshift.
- Invoked in an episode of Remington Steele; they need access to a woman in a mental ward, so Steele pretends to be this to get in.
- Rizzoli & Isles: In "Bite Out of Crime", the only witness to a murder has suffered a psychotic break and thinks he's a wolf.
- In an episode of ROY, Roy (who is a living cartoon) gets a blow on the head while pretending to be a dog and starts believing that he is actually a dog, to the point of growing a tail and dog ears.
- On one episode of Small Wonder Vicki hypnotized several people to act strangely, including making one man think he was a dog to the point that he almost relieved himself on a fire hydrant.
- Chakotay from Star Trek: Voyager has sometimes mentioned his senile grandfather, who believed that he could turn into a wolf.
- In the Supernatural episode "Dog Dean Arternoon", the potion Dean takes in order to communicate with a canine witness makes him act like a dog.
- In the Halloween Episode of That's So Raven, the audience is shown a Halloween night where Raven and Chelsea are magically transformed into cows, but it's revealed at the end it was all a vision that Raven had that she was able to prevent.
- One of the games on Whose Line Is It Anyway? is called "Party Quirks", in which three players pretend to be guests at a party with strange personality traits and the fourth player, portraying the host, has to figure out what they are. One notable game from the Clive Anderson years featured the quirk "slowly turning into a dog".
- The X-Files: In the Season 1 episode "Shapes", Scully tells Mulder that most reports of werewolves were really describing people with lycanthropy, a form of insanity in which the patient believes they have the ability to transform into a wolf. Given that the series deals with supernatural phenomena in pretty much every episode, it turns out that there really is a werewolf on the loose.
- The first verse of The Bonzo Dog Band's Spoken Word song Rhino Cratic Oaths:
After his second wife passed away, Percy Rawlinson seemed to spend more and more time with his Alsatian Al. His friends told him: "You should get out more, Percy, you'll wind up looking like a dog, ha ha!" He was later arrested near a lamp post. At his trial some months later he surprised everyone by mistaking a policeman for a postman and tearing his trousers off with his bare teeth. In his defense he told the court, "It's hard to tell the difference when they take their hats off."
- In Playing Doctor by Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore, one of the characters, a hypochondriac, is "diagnosed" with Talbot Syndrome as a throwaway line to get rid of him. The "doctor's assistant" later reads out the definition of the syndrome to the hypochondriac and his family. "A psychological disorder in which the patient takes on characteristics of a dog. In extreme cases, that canine mind overtakes the human mind and... the patient irreversibly becomes a living dog".
- In Grand Theft Auto V (specifically the re-release for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4) there are 27 peyote plants scattered across the map. Eating them will make any of the 3 protagonists hallucinate that they are various animals, including various dogs and even more specifically may make them think they are Chop the Rottweiler. The game allows you to play briefly as these animals (which also includes, cats, coyotes, sharks and other sea creatures, various birds, and even a sasquatch). However the game makes it pretty clear that whilst the characters think they have transformed they have not really done so (though it doesn't explain the flight as birds).
- Early in Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, one of the Rabbids that you see in the background is running around in a block with a circle cut out, apparently so stressed from being transported to the Mushroom Kingdom that he thinks he's a hamster running in a wheel. Beep-0 suggests getting him some rolled oats.
- Maximo: Ghosts to Glory: The final level of the game, Dungeon of Despair, features human prisoners who has long since lost their minds and believe themselves to be dogs.
- In Nancy Drew: The Curse of Blackmoor Manor, the culprit convinces Linda that she's becoming a werewolf by leaving her ominous notes and switching out her moisturizer for hair-growth lotion. Which may sound unrealistic, but if you lived in a place like Blackmoor Manor, you'd be feeling pretty paranoid too.
- In The Order of the Stick, Haley uses a potion that increases her ability to bluff to the point that she can make anyone believe practically anything. Amongst other Blatant Lies, she deals with one guard by convincing him that he's a wallaby, causing him to irately hop off to find a wizard to undo the spell.
- Inverted in Skin Horse with Phil the Mynah, an Uplifted Animal who thinks he's human.
- Stand Still, Stay Silent: A downplayed version of a cathood delusion seems to be an element of Lalli's implied disorder. He's perfectly aware that he's human, but has a lot of cat-like habits such as sitting on his haunches, sleeping in strange places (and doing so in the daytime due to being used to working at night), scratching doors instead of knocking at them and hissing at human beings that disturb him too much. He's also of a very solitary nature, has limited tolerance for other people touching him and is hostile to cats he runs into. Unsurprisingly, his luonto eventually turned out to be an Eurasian lynx, which may offer a partial explanation. The explanation is really partial as while the two other mages of the story have personality traits that are typically associated with their respective spirit animal equivalents, these traits stay within the range of acceptable human behaviour.
- Bobby Santiago of The Casagrandes is hypnotized in "What's Love Gato Do With It?" such that he acts like a cat when someone rings a bell and reverts back to normal when someone says "papaya".
- The Tex Avery-directed Walter Lantz short "Crazy Mixed-Up Pup" is about a man and his dog who are run over and treated by paramedics, who accidentally got human and canine plasma switched. When the man returns home, he starts exhibiting dog behavior, while the dog stands on his hind legs and talks. In the end, the same thing happens to his wife and her dog.
- Overlapping with Hypno Fool, in The Flintstones Fred hypnotized Barney into believing he's a chicken and being unable to snap him out of it, Fred has to take him to a professional hypnotist to undo it, but every time he tries to explain why Barney's acting like that, he accidentally hypnotizes the listener as well, at one point hypnotizing an entire plane full of people into believing they're chickens.
- The Garfield Show: Odie once did this to an entire town in "Dog Days", when an alien gave him a self-replicating alien cookie as gratitude for finding him marshmallows. Said cookie had a side-effect on Odie wherein every person he licked starts acting like a dog, and when the affected person licks someone else they act like dogs, too. Basically, it was the dog version of The Virus.
- Grojband: In "Hair Today, Kon Tomorrow", Kon starts believing he is a dog after a hair tonic causes him to be covered in hair and he receives a blow to the head.
- Jackie Chan Adventures: One episode had Evil Brit Valmont spray Uncle with a gas that causes amnesia. Valmont says, "Fare thee well, you old goat!" Uncle, who was wondering who he was, said, "Oh! I am a goat!" So he starts walking and running around on all fours, nibbling on stuff and bleating!
- Zigzagged in the Looney Tunes cartoon "Hare Brush"; Elmer Fudd, a millionaire, thinks he's a rabbit. He gets put in a mental institution, where he escapes, leaving Bugs Bunny in his place. The psychiatrists promptly ignore Bugs' insistence that he really is a real rabbit and use hypnotherapy to convince him that he is "Elmer J. Fudd, millionaire. I own a mansion and a yacht." The real zagging comes at the end, where it turns out Elmer was Obfuscating Insanity; he's being investigated by the IRS for tax evasion, a fate that ultimately befalls Bugs.
Elmer: I may be a scwewy wabbit, but I'm not going to Owcatwaz!
- In The Mighty B! Halloween Episode "Catatonic", Bessie orders a pirate costume for Halloween but receives a black cat costume instead. After she begrudgingly puts it on, Ben accidentally hits her with a plunger, causing her to believe that she's a cat.
- Happened on one episode of Monsters vs. Aliens, thanks to some Applied Phlebotinum. Sqweep wants a puppy, so B.O.B. volunteers to act as a dog for him, but can't get the behavior right. To remedy this, Sqweep makes a device to alter B.O.B.'s brain waves; but as B.O.B. has no brain to speak of, the ray just goes through him and ricochets all over the base, making everyone else think they're dogs.
- A gag in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Read It and Weep" involves barking dog noises during a chase, which turn out to be coming from a mental patient pony who escaped from the hospital.
- Big Macintosh ends up in on this when Discord has his way with the town of Ponyville in "Return of Harmony, Part 2".
- In the Grand Finale of Pound Puppies (1980s), the stress of running the pound (and inability to escape it, even when on an attempted vacation) eventually broke the evil aunt Katrina Stoneheart, causing her to conclude that maybe she was a dog, too.
- An episode of the reboot had dog catcher McLeish hypnotized into believing he was a dog, while retaining his human memories.
- Happened to Rocko in Rocko's Modern Life, where his friends, Heiffer and Filbert, used a hypnotism kit from the mail to make Rocko act like a rooster, a statue, and finally a dog. Before they have the chance to return him back to normal, Rocko escapes outside. While chasing a streetsweeper, he gets swept under the vehicle which tears off his clothes and makes his fur shaggy, fooling his neighbor Bev Bighead into thinking he really was a dog and adopting him as her pet. Even her husband, Ed Bighead, doesn't make the connection that the new pet is his hated neighbor next door, and merely regards him as an annoying pest. Fortunately, Rocko returns back to normal at the end of the episode.
- The Simpsons:
- In the softball episode, one of Mr. Burns' team of ringers is hypnotized into thinking he's a chicken. He continues to think he's a chicken for the rest of the episode.
- In the episode "Homer and Apu", Apu reveals he once worked in the Kwik-E-Mart for 24 hours straight and ended up thinking he was a hummingbird due to lack of sleep. He even has security camera footage confirming this.
- Papa Smurf and Gargamel were both given magical delusions of doghood in an episode of The Smurfs (1981).
- In the 1937 Looney Tunes short "She was an acrobat's daughter", one of the news shorts had a story of an entire town afflicted by the bite of a Mad Dog that induces this behavior, including the mayor fighting with a real dog over a bone.
- Rat King from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles thought he was actually a rat.
- Actually a real mental illness, called clinical lycanthropy. Also the real explanation for lycanthropy, according to several authorities of the 1600s. Of course the arrested man hadn't turned into a wolf, he just thought he had◊.
- According to a persistent rumor, Confederate Gen. Richard S. Ewell had occasional delusions that he was a bird.
- There is a (false, fortunately) urban legend about a man who, after taking a massive amount of LSD, became convinced he was an orange. Permanently. In some tellings, he thought he was a glass of orange juice, and spent the rest of his life trying not to be spilled or drank.
- Persian polymath Avicenna is recorded as having cured a prince who thought he was a cow. Apparently, the Prince was asking to be killed like a cow, so Avicenna dressed up like a butcher and then declared that "the cow" needed to be fattened up first, and fed the Prince medicinal herbs as "cow food". And it worked .
- Many cultural/religious/etc. beliefs thought that simply wearing the pelt (though sometimes bones as well) of an animal would cause you to take on the traits of that animal. In fact, the term "Berserk" comes from an ancient belief that wearing a bear pelt would cause you to transform into a bear.
- "Pet Play", a subset of BDSM, where the submissive acts and is treated like an animal (usually a cat, dog or horse).
- Feral children who have been raised by dogs will exhibit canine behaviour, even after they have been properly civilized.
- Inverted with birds that were raised by humans. There's a story about a female bird that developed a preference for tall, dark and handsome men, such as the man who had raised her. They had to get such a man to woo her with mating dances and the like, so that they could get her artificially inseminated. (It was a rare species, that's why they actually did it). While it is not known whether she thought of herself as being a human woman, this is very likely.