What makes you think it was me?

photo by Carter Grotta

Ever wonder why there are so many quotes about guilty dogs? “The guilty dogs bark loudest.” Unknown; “The guilty dog barks first.” Texas saying. “The black dog gets the food; the white dog gets the blame.” Unknown. I think we’re getting a bum rap and at least one scientific experiment backs me up. According to Science Daily, in an experiment in 2009, a scientist was able to show that the human tendency to attribute a “guilty look” to a dog was not due to whether the dog was actually guilty. Instead, people saw “guilt” in a dog’s body language when they thought the dog had done something it shouldn’t have – even if the dog was perfectly innocent! The scientist discovered this injustice by placing a dog treat in a room with a dog and the owner and having the owner leave the room for several minutes. When the owner returned, he or she was told that the dog had eaten the treat in their absence. According to Science Daily, whether a dogs’ demeanor changed to look “guilty” had little to do with whether the dog had actually eaten the forbidden treat. Dogs looked most “guilty” if they were admonished by their owners for misbehaving. In fact, the dogs who had been obedient and not eaten the treat, but were scolded by a (misinformed) owner, looked more “guilty” than those who had actually taken the bait.

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One Response to What makes you think it was me?
  1. Shirley Uphouse
    June 29, 2012 | 6:10 pm

    I’ve seen that look a hundred times.

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