A Glimpse at “Guilty”

Posted on 04/13/11 16 Comments

Okay this is one of the best video clips I have seen in a very long time. The beginning is hilarious  but it comes with a very important message. Those of you that think your dog “knows when he is wrong” needs to watch. Brought to you by http://dogspies.blogspot.com/

Today I am grateful for Denver & Gidget and for every dog that has ever adopted that “OhMyDawgItWasn’tMe” look. Dogs are freaking awesome.


  1. Susan A. says:
    Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 12:59pm

    This was great, been arguing with friends and students for years on this.

    I loved this and am sending this book and video to everyone I know.



  2. Jenn says:
    Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 10:24am

    I believe some dogs are capable of experiencing guilt. Perhaps it is limited to the more intelligent, empathetic breeds, I don’t know.

    My parents had a sheltie that was NEVER corrected for eliminating in the house because she basically housebroke herself. Never once. One day, there was a huge accident on the highway and my parents were stuck in traffic they could neither drive nor back up out of for HOURS. The sheltie was home for almost 18 hours and of course my parents EXPECTED she would have an accident because how on earth could she hold it for that long. So they were IN NO WAY mad at the dog (and remember, she had no history of ever being corrected for going in the house because she never had an accident). Of course, the sheltie had peed.

    And this dog was GUILTY. When my parents got home and let her out, she ran to the back of the yard and stood in the corner for honestly half an hour. Finally, my dad noticed she was not inside and he went to find her. He told her “it’s okay, Kelsey! It wasn’t your fault.” and after that, all was well. I don’t care what anyone says, that dog was ashamed.

    Along the same lines, my husband’s German Shepherd will always come up to a person who is crying, to comfort them. There has never been any reward in this for him, there is no reason he would do it other than he is feeling sympathy. There are authorities who would deny this is possible, but I witness it in my own home.

    My thought when I hear or read things from experts on the limitations of dog emotion is usually “how sad for them that they’ve never experienced a dog who was so complex – or that even if they HAVE, they have been too blind to see it.”


  3. Casey O says:
    Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 12:49am

    I suspect (but can’t prove) that the “guilty dog” is a set up. Likely that dog has been taught some tricks and they are linked together (the smile, the lick licking (also a calming signal)). Now that they were on GMA though, I don’t think the truth will be told.

    Gidget is glaring at the camera saying “you took the cookie! why did you set me up?!”


  4. Janet D says:
    Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 12:43am

    I think poor Gidget is just embarassed for her owner.
    BTW…loving Recallers 2.0!!!


  5. MicheleA says:
    Friday, April 15, 2011 at 8:59am

    Its all in the voice, 3 monthes ago I took in a 20 month old Border terrier that was a “bad” submissive wetter, I saw how bad she was when the owner walked her into a big building and she peed from the moment she walked in the door until she reached us on the otherside of the building, I took her home just to “foster” her but fell madly in love with this little dog (I own her brother whom I show)with using just a nice voice and no harsh words she did a complete 360 and is already showing in the breed ring, if I raise my voice in any way she has a “guilty” look just like the dogs on the video, and I could bet you that you could have her peeing again in no time…..Piper is also enjoying doing Recallers 2.0 since her brother got to do Recallers 1.


  6. Debra says:
    Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 10:51pm

    I learned alot from past mistakes of getting so angry at my dogs for tearing up things, eating things…Now that I’m 56 years young and mo wiser; I now understand why they did it..I worked 38 years away from home :o{ AND I learned you have to catch them, I mean literally catch them in the act for them to learn.. I remember when I brought Snap home at 8 weeks; I crate trained her right away and house trained her. She peed twice without me knowing..I couldn’t scold her – she had no idea…but when I caught her in the act I picked her up and said “Outside Potty” and took her straight outside..she NEVER did it again…

    What a difference it makes when you learn the right way…


  7. Sydney says:
    Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 12:18pm

    There is more if you click the link and read the article.


  8. Katie says:
    Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 10:51am

    The video is example is perfect of many situations, though I still believe that some dogs can show something related to yes I did it.

    Exhibit A: We would come home and find a little garbage can raiding had gone on, all we would do was point at the garbage being careful not to use a negative tone, sometimes both dogs would bow their heads, sometimes it was one or the other while the other wagged its tail and had happy body language. This could also be applied to holes dug in the lawn and other minor events. They were never punished or verbally reprimanded, time had long past since the fun had been had. It was really just a game we used to play.

    The same does not work for our current Border Collies who just get the “and so what” look


  9. Renee says:
    Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 9:55am

    I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now, I wish someone would **PLEASE** tackle the “he is jealous” myth. 🙂

    Thanks for posting, Susan! A great clip that can really help a lot of people!

    Renee King


  10. denise says:
    Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 1:06am

    Poor Gidget 🙁


    • Connie Macchione says:
      Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 9:41am

      I agree! That is a pretty sad illustration.


  11. Lisa Lucas says:
    Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 6:34pm

    Wow- I love this. It illustrates the point so perfectly!


  12. Alison says:
    Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 5:05pm

    Love it.

    Is this what your students look like whenever you say ‘oh my’?!! LOL


  13. Crystal says:
    Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 3:36pm

    I’ve seen one where the dog’s owner spreads garbage around the house, leaves, then comes back. The dog is acting “guilty” because it is used to being scolded when the owner comes home and garbage is on the floor.


  14. Trudie says:
    Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 1:32pm

    Thanks for the fascinating link to this study in dogspies.com !!
    After this article, scroll further down and there’s another fascinating article on “who is better at sneaking around? dogs or teenagers?”
    As they take care to underline, the point is not whether dogs feel guilt or not, but the observation that “dogs modify their behavior in the presence of people and other non-human animals”.


  15. shelley says:
    Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 11:35am

    Oh I just want to hug those dogs so bad! I hate the ‘leave it leave it leave it’ jargon. Thankyou Susan for sharing everything with so many of us so we can have dogs that don’t ever have to go through this.


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