How The 'Can You Pet The Dog?' Twitter Account Changed The Gaming Industry Forever

How The 'Can You Pet The Dog?' Twitter Account Changed The Gaming Industry Forever
Images: Twitter - CanYouPetTheDog

Written by 

Joseph Kime


9th Sep 2022 11:00

A lot of players will have you think that they're all grit. They're only into games when they can kick a ball about or shoot some miscellaneous baddies. It's something that we've come to expect now, as frankly, these gamers keep the industry afloat in spite of their defiance of games that breach the norm. We all know one, and though their stubbornness may be frustrating, we owe them a lot as an industry. Except, there's still a gap in their well-worn moody chainmail.

Everyone loves dogs. I mean, come on.

Even considering gamers that exemplify the blokey side of video games, we all know that the best thing about Call of Duty: Ghosts is Riley, the German Shepard who sniffs out bombs and, apparently, serves as a bit of a bullet sponge. He's a very good boy, this much we can agree on - but there's one problem.

Even the most hardened players wanted desperately to reward the wee guy with a little pat, or a scritch under the chin to tell him he'd done a good job chomping on an enemy goon's nards. But there was no such option. This problem plagued all sorts of self-serious games, notably including Tom Clancy's The Division 2.

It was mildly disappointing, of course, but we moved on - not knowing just how much this fault could shake the gaming industry.

Can You Pet The Dog Started Sweet

It was this disappointment that let to the creation of a seemingly innocuous Twitter account, and one that would go on to accidentally give game devs more work to do in the future. Tristan Cooper created the 'Can You Pet The Dog' in March 2019, in response to the online irritation that the strays in The Division 2 went unrewarded for being so lovely - and with every post, the account snowballed to popularity.

The seemingly harmless account went on to literally alter the creation of games, however, as the growth of the account and fan demand for pettable dogs in games led to the mechanic beginning to appear in more games, starting with the likes of Afterparty and CrossCode, before barrelling into the mainstream, with even The Division 2 rolling back its mistakes by introducing the ability to pet the stray dogs in the Warlords of New York expansion.

But, even aside from being a viral Twitter account, Can You Pet The Dog? has become an important marker of how the gaming industry has come to work in the age of social media, and has proven that with enough of a push, gaming fans can determine the direction of the games they love.

Can You Pet The Dog Exemplifies Interactivity In The Gaming Industry

What once started as a fun inside joke for Twitter users became an icon of how much influence that fans can have over games, with games rushing to give players the opportunity to pet dogs in hopes of bagging some free promo on the account, now running at over 500,000 followers. It became commonplace, too, to lambast games for not including the feature - after all, it's 2022, and you're considering making a game without pettable dogs? What a joke.

It's proof that enough players rallying around a common cause, regardless of its seriousness, can bring about such a change in video games that even AAA games bow to the whims of one Twitter account.


The account is proof that, now more than has ever been possible before, that organisation works. If we care about something deeply enough, and we can get enough people on board, we can change the gaming industry. Hell, we can change the world. Who knew that Can You Pet The Dog? could make the case for unionising so well.

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