Don’t Pet Challenge is a viral participatory media game in which pet owners hold their hands over their pet’s head as if they are about to pet them. The object of the game is to encourage one’s pet to touch their head to the owner’s hand and initiate petting. The video challenge went viral on TikTok in the summer of 2020.
On July 24th, 2020, TikToker @therealcooper published of her video performing the challenge and spelling out the rules of the game. The post received more than 316,000 reactions and 1,800 comments in less than two months.
Over the next month, people continued to participate in the game, using the sound clip recorded by @therealcooper. For example, on August 12th, the account @how.to.parrot published a version that received more than 921,000 reactions and 7,400 comments in less than two months (shown below, left). Days later, on August 15th, TikTok @tararseven posted a version of the challenge with a black cat. The post received more than 2.6 million reactions and 26,000 comments in less than one month (shown below, center). Throughout the month, others continued to perform the game with various animals (example below, right).
As of September 2020, the “don’t pet challenge” sound has more than 67,000 videos.
On September 14th, the website StayHipp published an article on the trend.