Behaviorists: Dogs Feel No Shame Despite the Look

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Your dog may look guilty -- but that doesn't mean he feels guilty.

Despite all of those pictures on the so-called dog-shaming websites, in which dogs are surrounded by their misdeeds as they pose with a hand-written "confession," behaviorists say dogs lack shame. They say the guilty look -- with the head cowered, the ears back and the eyes droopy -- is just a reaction to the tantrum the dog's owner throws after discovering the damage the dog had done.

Dr. Bonnie Beaver of Texas A&M, who heads the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, says instead of trying to shame the dog who chewed up your favorite fuzzy slippers, you should just "get over it and remind yourself not to put temptation in the way next time."

Even the woman who started dogshaming.com says she doesn't think dogs actually feel shame. Pascale Lemire says dogs only know that their owner is "super mad about something" -- and that "he seems to calm down when I give him the sad face, so let's try that again."

She says her website -- with more than 65,000 images of guilty pets -- is good for a laugh, and to let pet owners know that "their dog isn't the only one who does awful things."


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