Science Says That This Is The Real Reason For That Famous ‘Guilty Dog’ Look

ADVERTISING

All dog owners know their furry friend's 'guilty look' all too well: the bowed head, tail between the legs and apologetic expression.

 

This look, known as an 'apology bow', whilst adorable, is actually a trait inherited from wolves to show submission and not guilt.

 

guilty-dog-science-1Source: Youtube

 

Dr. Nathan Lents, a professor of Psychology at the University of New York described this behavior as  “a very interesting phenomenon that goes far beyond the dog-human relationship.”

 

He explains how this bow is an act of submission that stems from pack behavior.

 

guilty-dog-science-2Source: Instagram/@mischief_michi

 

Wolves, similarly to dogs, play fight as both a means of bonding and learning social rules. If one member of the pack bites too hard while playing, they will be temporarily shunned and isolated from the group. Dr. Lents explains that:

 

In order to be reintroduced, the offending wolf must approach with an apology bow and be re-admitted into the group.

 

guilty-dog-science-4Source: Instagram/@thelifeof_rocky

 

Dogs are extremely social animals and seek approval from their humans, so when they can sense that they are in trouble and as such, isolated from their family group, they will perform the 'apology bow' in order to be forgiven.

 

Lents, therefore, explains that the gesture is less an act of apology and guilt, but more a wanting to be involved in the social group again.

 

guilty-dog-science-3Source: Instagram/@kyara.and.ghost

 

So the countless 'guilty dog' and 'dog-shaming' videos online are really just the pup asking to be friends again.

 

* * *

 

At Holidog, we aim to improve the lives of your furry friends. Enjoy your holidays with peace of mind, knowing your pet is in great hands (find a petsitter near you) and spoil them with our monthly subscription box filled with yummy treats and toys (get your free box here). You can count on us!

 

ADVERTISING