What Really Prompts the Guilty Look
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Thread: What Really Prompts the Guilty Look

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    Labradorable's Avatar
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    DefaultWhat Really Prompts the Guilty Look

    ~Samantha
    Dozer (04/01/09) & Moose (01/02/13)
    Cybil (02/02/00 - 02/20/09)



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    Sorry to disagree with that research because my old Lab Jake definitely would show a "guilty as charged" look. Every time I would find a bit of chewed up paper on the floor i would call to Jake and ask "who did this". Jake would sit, point his nose up, partially close his eyes, and curl his ears tightly back. That was his guilty look. Now for the confirming evidence. I wanted to get a photo of that look but I would never have my camera ready. I decided to stage an event to get a photo so I tore up some paper, got my camera all set, and called to Jake. He came over and as usual I asked "who did this". With my camera at the ready Jake merely sniffed at the paper and walked away as if to say, "Nope I didn't do that". He was not guilty and was not about to take the blame.

    Duke and Freckles at their country home

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    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    Thanks, very good study... Very much related to the maxim that 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder'

    This reminds of a non-dog illustration of a similar process. Shortly after I got a Garmin Nuvi GPS, I was experimenting with using it before going on a long trip, sometimes following -- sometimes not -- the spoken directions the ♀ voice was giving:

    "In 2 tenths mile, turn right on Main Street"

    (I'd continue straight)

    "Recalculating"

    "In 3 tenths miles, turn right on Broad Street"

    "Recalculating"


    etc., etc.

    Eventually it would give up its preferred route and begin issuing new instructions based on my current position and roads available.

    During this experimenting, one evening a couple lady friends and I were driving to Lawrence (30 miles away) to see a movie there. After hearing the voice say "Recalculating" about 7X in a row, one of them said, "she's getting really pissed" to which the other quickly agreed.

    As if a recorded voice in a little electronic instrument changed moods or motivations based on outcomes.

    Possibly guilt (& being pissed) can also sometimes be in the eyes (and ears) of the beholders?


    Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]

    Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
    http://forum.justlabradors.com/showt...?p=748#post748

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    LMAO ... I love our Garmin Nuvi. We call her Jenny. I swear she does say "recalculating" differently after the first two or three times. My passengers have even mentioned it. I think the makers of the Nuvi must have been jokesters.
    ~Samantha
    Dozer (04/01/09) & Moose (01/02/13)
    Cybil (02/02/00 - 02/20/09)



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    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    And that's not to disagree with Duke's Dad's experience with Jake.

    I think both can be true, that MANY times people read their version of a dog's emotional reaction into their dogs. But many dogs have emotional reactions on their own.

    Bess was an inveterate counter surfer and kitchen trash scrounger. Where we lived was only a few blocks from the hospital where we worked and I'd sometimes quickly run home to pick up something needed.

    One of our failed attempts to keep Bess out of the kitchen trash was a large plastic container with a screwtop lid.

    Whenever I came home, Bess almost always met me at the door, smiling and wagging her tail.

    BUT sometimes I came home and Bess was nowhere to be seen.

    I'd call and, after a bit, this furry black object, belly slinking across the floor, tail bewteen her legs, grossly distorted look of abject misery (contrition?) on her face, chin sliding across the linoleum floor, pupils underlined by large white areas looking up at me, would slowly crawl toward me.

    (From the kitchen.)

    I quickly learned from a glance in the kitchen that always meant Bess had tipped over the trash and rifled through it to lick off any smears of food.

    That led to keeping the container behind the latched door to a hall leading to outside and the basement stairs. That saved Bess from herself and repeated miseries. She never could resist food temptations.

    Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]

    Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
    http://forum.justlabradors.com/showt...?p=748#post748

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    ruff n tumble crew is offline Senior Member
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    I don't know that I agree with that study. Many years ago, when I had my first lab, I came in from work. When I walked in the front door, I was greeted with an extreme version of the "guilty look" complete with a crouch and averted head. I had no reason to think she had done anything wrong except for her demeanor. It was not until about 10 o'clock when I was getting ready to crawl into bed that I found the empty Graham cracker box stuffed behind the bed. By that time, I couldn't help but giggle over the minor faux paux that my girl had comitted.

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    Cybil would do something while we were away and we would have no knowledge of it. Her face would look guilty and THEN we would go looking to see what mess there was to clean up. This started later in her years after my sister's dog taught her how to open the garbage. LOL
    ~Samantha
    Dozer (04/01/09) & Moose (01/02/13)
    Cybil (02/02/00 - 02/20/09)



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    Rush likes to 'sneak' Twiggy's food when she's not supposed to. On occasion she will leave it and Boo will eat it. If I point to the bowl and ask who ate it, Rush will put her ears down and kinda slink towards me when she is the one who ate it. If Boo eats it, Rush will not acknowledge that the food was even there, and will look at Boo. There sits Boo, licking her lips.


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    I don't know that I agree with the study either, since both Tal and Barney will give me a look, wagging their tails all proud of themselves! lol Actually, they have been more prone, when puppies, to get into something when I was here than while I was away. When something did happen, I would clean up or fix whatever was damaged, and just keep on with the training.

    Still, I think there is something to the conclusions these authors reach. I really think our canines take much of their behavior cues from our demeanors. I have a way I sigh really loudly when I am frustrated. Tal, Barney, and Midnight all head for the bed (or under it!) and after a bit, they all come, tails wagging, and all is well again!

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    Okay! Its time for Hershey Kisses' story.

    Everything is perfect day: I open the door from the garage and there she is, sitting about 4 feet from the door, ears up, tail waggin, and ready to wiggle between my legs. Nothing in the house is out of place or damaged.

    Uh! Oh! Day: I open the door from the garage and there is no Hershey Kisses. I don't make a sound, but survey the room. One of my wife's shoes in in the middle of the family room floor, or maybe a box of bandaids that was left on the bathroom counter, or may a tube of something. Nothing is damaged, no teeth marks, but something she should not have touched is in the wrong place. I go looking for her, not calling. There she is at the top of the stairs, laying with her head hanging over the top step, ears back, and eyes begging foregiveness. I say, 'Bad girl. Now come here.' and she slithers down the steps like snake, and tries to slide up my pant leg.

    I didn't yell. I didn't indicate any displeasure with her. She heard me coming into the garage and she knew she had done something wrong. Just before I got there, or 6 hours earlier? Who knows besides her. But she knew.
    Hershey Kisses, In charge of getting Ed out to the dog park so that he gets some exercise.

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