Posted 5 months ago ago
Having waited 23 years for her very own dog, it’s no surprise that Doberman Champ has had such a profound effect on his owner, Dani Brant.
Not only has the adorable pup helped support her through what she describes as a ‘dark patch’ when dealing with her mum’s breast cancer diagnosis, but he’s also become an overnight sensation on Tik Tok, helped raise money for charity and led to a potential new career for Dani.
Not bad going for a dog who’s only nine months old.
And while Champ’s ‘bubbly’ personality has won over nearly 200k followers, Dani is also using the platform to break the breed stereotype that Dobermans are dangerous and scary, something she seems extremely passionate about.
So what does it take to build a huge following on Tik Tok? And how do Dani and Champ deal with the overnight success?
You might be surprised to hear that it’s not all likes and love, it can also bring out the trolls, even death threats (how could anyone troll a dog?). But Dani is determined to keep @championdoberman a positive place and often shares training tips, raw food ideas and videos of what the pair have been up to.
“I was honestly just doing it as a bit of a hobby, let's just do some silly videos...I just thought it’d be good to get Champ on there but I honestly didn't know it would turn into such a big thing,” said Dani.
Dani had her account before creating one for Champ but she deleted it to focus on doggy content. It gained a following of 10k in just a matter of days and is close to hitting the 200k milestone after just a few months.
So why does she think his account has been such a success?
Dani said: “I think it helps with my knowledge giving out information because a lot of people would like to use Tik Tok as kind of an educational side.
“I also now do a lot of tips and stuff with raw food and I've got a diploma in animal management biology which also covers dog nutrition, dog training and dog behaviour so I give quite a lot of advice out on that stuff...I can help a lot of people.
“I also show other sides that a lot of dog trainers don't show. I show that Champ will have off days, you know, I will come back and have a good old cry because he doesn't listen and I want to show that this is all very normal when training a puppy.
“That's what I show and I think that's what people enjoy, I'm very open and honest about all this stuff.”
With Champ weighing in at 48kg, he’s quite a big boy, especially for a puppy. And while the stereotype might be that they’re big and scary dogs, Dani is helping to show that that isn’t the case and it is instead down to bad training and ownership.
She describes Champ as ‘crazy’ but also told us about his affectionate and loving nature.
She said: “I call him ‘Cheeky champ’. He is honestly an absolute dream dog and I feel totally lucky to have him.
“His behaviour is incredible. He's very, very affectionate and Dobermanns are classed as velcro dogs, so he always wants my attention but I've also taught him to have some time out.”
Champ’s exceptional behaviour could be down to good training on Dani’s part. She made sure he had good socialisation training from the off and has tried to expose him to lots of different environments, even taking him on the Tube.
She’s learnt so much from having a puppy that she’s also now training to become a dog trainer. Whether as a complete career change or as a second job to her role as a spinal cord injury specialist, crediting her Tik Tok account as the inspiration.
She told us: “My Tik Tok has inspired me to do so much more with my dog.”
But it’s not been all good. The account has also attracted a lot of bad attention with Dani receiving death threats on an almost daily basis, partly down to Champ having his ears cropped and docked, but this was done before he was homed with Dani.
But she doesn’t tolerate the hate and simply deletes and blocks any negativity.
Instead, her account is a positive place for dog lovers and she is even using it to raise money for animal charity Dogs for Good. She’s running a 200k giveaway selling raffle tickets for £2 for a chance to win £400 worth of prizes.
Holding the Miss Essex International title, raising money for charity is something Dani is extremely passionate about.
She said: “I love helping out charities. I love helping out the community when I can - I'm all about giving.
“And if there's an opportunity where I can positively use my platform while helping someone else out, that's what I'll do.”
Using her platform to raise money for charity is only doable thanks to her following, something Dani is very proud of and thankful for.
She said: “I love all my followers.”
Champ’s following has also extended beyond Tik Tok with the pair getting recognised when out on walks in Dani’s local town of Chelmsford.
She added: “I just obviously want to show people that this is an amazing breed, and never judge a book by its cover.