Do dogs really experience guilt?

Many owners are sure that their dogs understand it when they “misbehave”, because they tend to “feel guilty and show signs of remorse”. But can dogs really experience guilt? 🧐 Let’s see.

Say, you come home after a busy day at work, and the picture that opens up before your eyes is a complete mess everywhere.😳 Your dog is not in a hurry to meet you at all, instead he/she is keeping the head low, the ears pressed to the head and the tail – down.

Your pet knows that it’s not desirable behavior – “what a guilty look (s)he has on”. But then why would the dog keep doing it then? “Definitely out of spite” – you’d think. But this conclusion is wrong.

There is a big BUT here, and that is: dogs don’t feel any guilt. And this is proven by scientists.

So then, you might ask, if dogs don’t know the feeling of guilt, what do these “remorseful” signs mean? It’s quite simple. This behavior is not remorse at all. It is a reaction to the threat and a way to block human aggression.

By getting lower to the floor, lowering the tail, pressing the ears to the head and avoiding looking you in the eye, your dog is signaling you about his/her desire to avoid conflict.

By the way, this often works perfectly – the owner calms down and gives the dog what (s)he was aiming at from the very beginning. And this doesn’t at all mean that the dog understood his/her mistake and will never repeat it again.🐶

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