Some dogs perk up at the thought of going to the park. Mav lights up at the mention of ~murder~.
golden retriever standing by pool likes murder
Credit: Melissa Williams

Most dog owners know a thing or two about trigger words that send our pups into whirls of excitement. For some, it might be "park," "walk," "car," or something with similarly exciting connotations. But for 3-year-old golden retriever Mav, one word stands well above the rest: murder.

Yes, this sweet, goofy golden's favorite word is murder, and it's his obsession with the word that's made him a TikTok star. In Mav's "murder videos," you can see the pup completely perk up when he hears the word "murder," eagerly jumping around and running in circles. In his most popular video, his owner echoes a popular trend, "He's a 10, but his favorite word is … murder.

"... Why do we like this?" she exclaims as Mav perks up and excitedly dashes toward the door.

"It's the weirdest thing in the world," Mel Williams, Mav's owner, tells Daily Paws. "It's very weird. He's a golden retriever with a happy-go-lucky personality, but you say that word and he goes nuts."

Though Mav also responds enthusiastically to more common words like "walk" or "park," Williams says the level of excitement he shows for the word "murder" is unmatched. While some people might think such a foreboding favorite word means Mav is out for blood, Williams has a different theory on why her goofy pup perks up so much. (And it's not that he's a reincarnated serial killer.)

Like similar breeds, one of Mav's very favorite things in the world is water. He loves prancing around in a sprinkler or swimming more than anything. Williams quickly determined that she didn't want Mav freaking out every time he heard such a common word, so she avoided "water" as much as possible to reduce the association.

Months later, when Mel was discussing one of her favorite crime podcasts with her niece, Mav started going crazy, and it only took a quick "process of elimination" to figure out the word that was sending him into a frenzy: Not "podcast," not "mystery," but "murder."

Williams speculates that some part of Mav remembers what "water" used to signify, and it's the -ER sound that sends him into a frenzy. Fittingly, Mav also likes the word "killer," which is both ~spooky~ and ends with the same -ER sound as water and murder.

And though some people speculate that it's all about tone—we'd be lying if we said we haven't tried to get our dog to go somewhere with high-pitched voices and promises of treats and playtime—Mel insists that it's all about the word with Mav.

"It doesn't matter the tone of voice I use—I can say it as blandly as possible and he'll still get excited and sprint off," she says.

One thing's for sure: Even if Mav has murder on the mind, we're still going to watch his TikToks to get our fix of the cutest lil' murder baby around. (Just maybe keep him away from the Arconia.)