You see that guy there? He's crawling around on all fours, and... is he sniffing that guy's butt? Who does he think he is?
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 he is a dog or any other animal without actually being it.
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.
- Pokémon :
- 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.
- Sket Dance: Distracted by a cat while hypnotizing himself, Tsubaki started acting like a cat. It took some time before he stopped meowing.
- Ranma from Ranma ½ 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".
- 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.
- 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.
- In Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Love Come o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru, 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 Dog 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.
- In New Mutants, Catseye of the Hellions thought she was an actual cat.
- In X-Men, the Xavier Institute once had a student named Overlay, whose power was that he could induce this.
- In Carl Barks' Disney Ducks Comic Universe story "Trala La", Scrooge McDuck has a nervous breakdown from over-work and starts acting like a squirrel.
- 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 shepard. This causes Donald to start chasing after every cat he sees while barking furiously.
- In this Garfield comic, Jon's neighbors think he's succumbed to this when they seem 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 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.
- 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.
- Big part of The Animal.
- 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."
- 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 forgettable 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.
- In The Killer, 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 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 chanelling the personality of a rich man's St. Bernard whenever he gets excited.
- In 102 Dalmatians, there is a parrot who thinks he's a dog.
- 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.
- 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.".
- Of course 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".
- 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, but, with a little regret, 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.
- King Nebuchadnezzar from The Bible. Of course, 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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).
- In Misfits, one person gains this as a superpower. They go through bouts of thinking they're a Jack Russel, but don't shapeshift.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Rizzoli & Isles: In "Bite Out of Crime", the only witness to a murder has suffered a psychotic break and thinks he's a wolf.
- Chakotay from Star Trek: Voyager has sometimes mentioned his senile grandfather, who believed that he could turn into a wolf.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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 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". Hilarity Ensues.
- 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 Ambiguous 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.
- 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 hypno-therapy 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 Series 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.
- Jackie Chan Adventures: One episode had Evil Brit Valmont spray Uncle with a gas that causes amnesia. Valmont says, "Fare thy 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!
- Rat King from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles thought he was actually a rat.
- 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 (known to fans as "Barking Mad" or "Screwloose") 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 Simpsons 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.
- Papa Smurf and Gargamel were both given magical delusions of doghood in an episode of The Smurfs.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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 persistant 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.
- 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 human woman, this is very likely.