Do Dogs Really Feel Guilt?

Its happened to all dog owners at least once. You come home, open the door, and find:

  • The furniture torn up
  • An "accident" on the carpet
  • Food on the counter missing
  • Fur all over the couch 
  • (insert guilt-causing activity here)

Then when you start searching for the culprit you get...the look. The "Im so sorry, please dont be mad at me, look at my really cute face" look. But is look your pup giving you, really an admission of guilt?

In some cases, absolutely. This YouTube clip, viewed by millions, shows Denver (the most adorable guilty face I have ever seen) feeling guilty after she chowed down on some kitty treats - obviously not meant for her. She cant look her human in the eye, and instead gives the most hysterical teeth baring "Im sorry" ever.

Published in the Behavioral Process Journal, Canine expert Alexandra Horowitz conducted a study to determine if what we perceive as guilt, is actually that - guilt. In the study, Dr. Horowitz told some owners that their dogs had misbehaved, when in fact they had not. Those owners said that their dogs looked guilter than the dogs who had actually misbehaved (chowed down on the treats they were told not to touch).

“Based on the experiment, ‘the look’ that we, humans, think indicates dogs’ guilt was not, in fact, prompted by their disobedience,” says Dr. Horowitz. “Instead, it appeared most when they were scolded or about to be scolded.”

So next time youre about to place blame on your pup, make sure that he is 100% guilty. In my case, I only have one dog - so thats a safe assumption. But more than anything, the guilty-face my dog gives me, rewards her! Because in turn - I feel so guilty for making her feel bad!

Check out Denver, our favorite guilty dog, looking much happier on ABCs Good Morning America !

Do your dogs have the guilty face? Share it on our Facebook page!

Older Post
Newer Post

Leave a Comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Share on social media

Keep it Clean

Save the planet & your wallet with our 100% machine washable Lounge Beds

Learn More

Luxury Designed Products for Pets, People & Planet

Pamper your pet, update your home décor and save the planet with P.L.A.Y.’s luxury and eco-friendly pet products. Our premium pet beds are not only functional, but they’re also 100% machine washable, stylish enough to look good your home & their plush filling is made from recycled plastic bottles!

From comfortable and practical pet beds, new and whimsical pet toys released yearly and the best outdoor gear to help you adventure with your furry friend, we strive to meet the needs of modern pet parents. With exclusive designs created by artists around the world, we deliver a look and feel that will leave tails wagging and wallets intact.

People Are Talking About Us
Hallmark Channel
Apartment Theraphy
HGTV
Chicago Tribune
Daily Candy
People
View More Media Coverage
Close (esc)

Popup

Use this popup to embed a mailing list sign up form. Alternatively use it as a simple call to action with a link to a product or a page.

Age verification

By clicking enter you are verifying that you are old enough to consume alcohol.

Search

Shopping Cart

Your cart is currently empty.
Shop Now