Skip to comments.How Did Dogs Acquire a "Guilty Look?"
Posted on 09/18/2009 3:06:19 PM PDT by PJ-Comix
A little while ago I made my wife laugh by doing an impression of a dog acting guilty. After the laughter subsided I started thinking: How does a dog even know how to act guilty? Guilt is not an emotion in any part of the rest animal kingdom except perhaps to a much lesser extent in cats and maybe chimpanzees although I am not sure about the latter due to little contact with chimps. Cats have such a superiority complex that they really don't show much guilt about anything.
But dogs go completely overboard in the guilt department. You come home and if your dog did something it shouldn't have done, such as leave a "deposit" on the floor, you can often tell right away. The head is down, you might hear some whimpering, and the eyes give away a great deal of guilt. Not only can dogs act guilty, it is much more exaggerated than in humans since people often tried to hide their guilt.
We take this feeling of guilt for granted in dogs because we are so used to it. However, guilt is a very complicated emotion. How did dogs pick up feelings of guilt? It's really amazing when you think about it.
As George Carlin said.
“Dogs got eyebrows they can manipulate. Cat’s got a bunch of s**t sticking out of their face.”
Not a fish or a canary, though they are usually dead when I get to them.
But the Gerbil thing... Ask Richard Gere
Bookmarking for more great dog pics!
My sister’s cat would act guilty, skulking behind furniture, etc. My sister knew that meant there was a mess somewhere in the house. When it was found, and she gave a cat a swat, the cat was all cheerful again.
That is a good question! Why do they put up with us?
I did’n dooh nuttun! Scratch my belly, please!
This may also be why dogs left packs to bond with humans. In the pack the alpha dog might just kill them. In dealing with humans - if the dog looks sad then the human usally says okay that is alright. You are a good boy or girl. Most humans are more forgiving than an alpha dog.
I think you’re right. My dogs have been admonished their whole lives when they do naughty stuff. They know when they do something on my “naughty” list that I’ll not be my usual happy go lucky self with them. Dogs innately understand body language and facial expressions within their own kind and also with humans, particularly with humans with which they have a long history.
God love a good dog!
When my cat was alive, the kitty litter was along the bathroom wall near the toilet. And when I sat down on the toilet, my cat often chose that time to do her thing on the kitty litter. Strange look on her face but I chuckled at her purposeful timing.
Here is Patsy caught in the act.
What a cute baby.
he droop his head and turn and leave the room numerous insults were made on his way out.
yeah... he looked guilty all right
I saw a fascinating science show about dogs. What really got to me is that canines have the widest DNA diversity of any mammal which is why there are so many dog breeds. And that DNA diversity arrived long before dogs were domesticated. When they were still wolves. That got to me. Man’s best friend had the potential for the widest ranges of shapes, sizes, and colors long before they were Man’s best friend.
Gee, I always thought the look exemplified in the Helen Thomas photo was cackling evil, not guilt.
Please do not even think about comparing my beautiful, darling dog to that horrible, lying old harpy.
I know Shelly never appears “guilty” because she never does anything wrong! :^)
LOL you know cats well........
Beagles have perfected the sympathy act. That photo can be interpreted, “I know I just chewed up your new $129 Clark loafer but if I look at you like this you won’t hit me with that newspaper.