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Hypnosis-Proof Dogs

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The Big Bad has activated his Mind Control device, bringing the whole of Trope Town under his control. No tinfoil hats or even Heroic Willpower can save you now...

But your faithful companion Tropey the Wonder Dog can.

For whatever reason whenever mass hypnosis is involved it only seems to affect humans, not animals. It can be down to it only working on the brainwave frequencies of humans, that the dog's Super-Senses can render them immune or simply that they're too thick to be hypnotized.

Usually used as a plot device to incapacitate the human members of the cast so as to have A Day In The Lime Light for the Team Pet. Expect this trope to appear in works with Intellectual Animals living alongside humans. This also applies to illusions or in extreme cases Reality Warping.

Subtrope to Immune to Mind Control. See Too Dumb to Fool where this trope may apply to less intelligent but otherwise sentient characters.

Related to Evil-Detecting Dog.

Truth in Television, as actual hypnosis is only effective on humans, and requires a common language to give any effective suggestions. Methods thought to induce a hypnotic trance or similar state in non-human animals are typically either not effective at all, or not effective on humans.

Appears in:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Invoked in Cowboy Bebop when the Bebop crew plug their corgi Ein into a cult's website which would hypnotise any human trying to search it. Unbeknownst to them, Ein is actually a hyperintelligent "data dog", and manages to hack the site almost instantly to furnish the cult leader's location.
  • In Gintama, one arc features Kintoki, the robot version of the protagonist Gintoki, implanting in most of the cast Fake Memories that he has been the protagonist. Canis Major Sadaharu and Robot Girl Tama are the few ones immune to his hypnosis wave.
  • Inverted in Pokémon: The Original Series in an "Orange Islands" episode where the Team Rocket rival duo, Cassidy and Butch, used a Drowzee's hypnosis specifically to brainwash Pokémon but not their trainers. However, it has no effect Ghost-type Pokémon like Gastly.
  • In the Sailor Moon anime, when Chibiusa first appears she tries to hypnotize Usagi's entire family. At first this even affects Luna (who is a cat, albeit sentient), but she quickly breaks out of the trance and then bites Usagi to snap her out of it as well.
  • Played with in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Boota the pigmole is the only member of Team Dai-Gurren to be unaffected by the Anti-Spiral's Lotus-Eater Machine. However, when he attempts to power up and save everyone, he inadvertently crosses the Bishōnen Line and gains a human-like body and mind, removing his immunity and causing him to become trapped as well.

    Comic Books 
  • In a Mortadelo y Filemón comic, Mortadelo tries to invoke this trope by sending a dog after a hypnotist thief to capture him. Unfortunately, it's subverted when the dog is hypnotized anyway, as the thief Speaks Fluent Animal.
  • In one of the My Little Pony Friendshipis Magic comics, Ponyville is under threat of being flooded when a kelpie named Cassie used her hypnotic singing to coerce the citizens of Ponyville to deconstruct a dam, but her powers have no effect on animals, more specifically the pets of the Mane 6, who spend the entire comic trying to stop her.
  • At the end of the Tintin story Flight 714 to Sydney the aliens wipe the minds of everyone of the entire incident. Snowy remembers the whole thing but it's unclear whether this trope is in effect or if they saw no need to do so as he can't tell anyone.

  • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Sirius Black uses Animorphism to lessen the effects of the joy-sucking Eldritch Abominations, called Dementors, that guard Azkaban. As a dog, his emotions are simpler, more animalistic, and harder for an Emotion Eater to process. But the blind Dementors can't tell he's in canine form, so they just assume he's lost his mind like other prisoners do.
  • A noted advantage of cyberform companions/weapons in Heretical Edge is that they can't be mind-controlled. For this reason, when Ammon uses his Compelling Voice to make most of Flick's dormmates attack her, Sean sends his cyberform dog Vulcan to protect her while staying back so Ammon can't control him too.
  • In one of the Land of Oz books a baddie puts up an illusion of a wall of flame. Everyone else is stopped but Toto just walks right through it because he can't see it, or sees that it isn't real, or something.
  • Inverted in The Jungle Book, where Kaa the snake's Hypnotic Eyes work on all the animals of the jungle except the human ("man-cub") Mowgli. That Mowgli is able to meet Kaa's gaze is shown as proof of his exceptional nature.
  • In Perdido Street Station, Sincerity the badger doesn't seem to be affected by the slake-moth's hypnotic wings. Justified because the moths feed exclusively on sentient victims, so would never need to hypnotize animals.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, we eventually learn that the fifth season Big Bad, Glory, is Sharing a Body with Ben, switching forms whenever one takes control from the other; any human who sees this, however, forgets immediately. Eventually Spike, a vampire, sees and tries to tell the others, only to be frustrated when they still keep forgetting after a few seconds.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Horns of Nimon", the Doctor et al. are in a Minotaur-like maze where the walls keep moving about, but the Doctor's dog-shaped Robot Buddy K9 just goes right through the wall to freedom because he can't see it.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In some editions of the Champions role-playing game, this is explicitly a part of mind-affecting powers — in order to affect animals, you have to buy it with extra points (or sacrifice the Human mind category.)
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Charm or Hold spells that only work on humanoids are lower level than those which affect other creature types. In an inversion, there are also low-level mind-affecting spells that ONLY affect animals, but not humanoids or anything else.
    • 1st Edition psionics. The Hypnosis power doesn't work on creatures with an Intelligence of 7 or less, which includes all normal animals such as dogs.
    • Judge Guild supplement Masters of Mind. The Hypnosis psionic power doesn't work on animals (such as dogs).

    Video Games 
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2: Animals (alongside robots) are immune to mind control, used by Psi Corps/Yuri Clones, Masterminds, and Psychic Towers. Whereas the superweapon Psychic Dominator mind controls any other units in its ability range, this simply kills off animal units.
  • In the video game adaptation of Death Gate, this is the solution to a puzzle: illusion spells work on the minds of higher life forms, not on animals. When possessing the dog, Haplo sees what the dog would see, which does not include any illusions in the area.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, a powerful demon tries to imprison you and your current party in a Lotus-Eater Machine. After you break free, you can enter your companions' dreams to free them. Most of them (except Morrigan) fall for the illusion but your Dog is simply put to sleep and re-joins you as soon as you approach him.
  • Zigzagged in Mother 3. Boney is the only member of the party not to go on the Mushroom Samba but that's because he refused to eat the mushrooms rather than any immunity. Also, when the hallucination of the protagonist's assumed-dead brother joins the party, Boney indicates its true nature before it attacks.

    Web Comics 
  • The Last Days of Foxhound reveals fairly early on that Sniper Wolf's pet wolf Berthold is a telepath. Then there's one instance when Psycho Mantis and Bert both attempt to brainwash Vulcan Raven in order to fork over a stealth device. Eventually, Mantis' mask gets taken off and as soon as he gets it back on, he realizes that Berthold was a telepath the entire time, perhaps as strong as him.

    Western Animation 
  • In Aladdin: The Series, the sand witch rewrote history so that she and Jasmine swapped places. All the humans were affected, including Genie, but Iago, Abu, and Rajah were unaffected, overlapping with Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory.
  • In the DC Super Hero Girls special, the Big Bad, Granny Goodness, frames Gorilla Grodd (who is a reformed villain in this series) for her evil plan so that he would get kicked out of the school. Her plan involves Mind Control, and apparently they never figured out how to make that work on gorillas.
  • In the '90s British Dennis the Menace cartoon (Dennis and Gnasher stateside), a mad scientist who was using hypnotizing music to trick the town into buying his useless inventions like toothless combs for bald people. He found out it didn't work on dogs and got around it by having a "no dogs allowed" policy in the store.
  • Averted in Kim Possible. One episode features the Seniors using a hypnotic disco ball. When they first show it off to Kim and Ron, they are both affected immediately. Then Rufus pops out of Ron's pocket, looks at the disco ball, and immediately becomes entranced.
  • The Rocketeer: In "Hypnotic Hughesville", Orsino uses a spell to hypnotize the citizens into acting like their favorite animals; Butch the bulldog, who is an animal to begin with, is unaffected.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated:
    • The episode with Aphrodite has all the humans falling under the spell of flowers at least, those who could smell it, which left Scooby-Doo and Professor Pericles to save the town.
    • Also, the episode with Rude Boy and the ska band has Shaggy and Scooby immune from the music from forcing everyone else to dance: Shaggy because he is tone deaf and Scooby because he is a dog and to him it is just noise.
  • First subverted, then played straight, in WordGirl. In Mr. Big's first appearance, his brainwashing affects all the humans in town and Captain Huggyface, but not WordGirl herself. Mr. Big's explanation for this was that the device was just set to "humans and animals" instead of "humans, animals and aliens". But in a later episode, the roles are reversed: WordGirl and two human judges for a contest are brainwashed, but Huggyface isn't affected.