It’s a statement I’ve heard to many times before. An owner will come home to find a chewed up shoe or a big puddle on the floor and utter something similar to this: “Then I took him right over to the puddle and said ‘bad dog, what did you do’. He knew he did wrong because he looked so guilty.”
And here is the honest, scientific truth: He or she has absolutely no idea what he/she did was wrong. The poor pup is just reacting to the owner’s tone and possibly anger. It is a faulty way of disciplining because the dog is not learning a thing.
An Associated Press article explains:
Behaviorists insist dogs lack shame. The guilty look — head cowered, ears back, eyes droopy — is a reaction to the tantrum you are throwing not over the damage they did hours earlier.
Dr. Bonnie Beaver, a professor at Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and executive director of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, had this straightforward advice: “Just get over it and remind yourself not to put temptation in the way next time.”