Study: Dogs Don't Experience Guilt - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Study: Dogs Don't Experience Guilt

Posted: Updated:
PHILADELPHIA -

If man's best friend misbehaves, pet owners would like to think their dogs experience a little bit of guilt. But a new study shows that they do not feel guilt at all.

This is sparking controversy among dog owners. Some insist that their beloved canines do, in fact, feel emotions regarding the consequences of their actions. They call it the guilty look.

But one woman who calls herself a K9 scientist says that dogs have a guilty look only if they're scolded by their owner, not if they simply do something wrong.

"The guilty look does not signify a knowledge of a misdeed," said Julie Hect, of the Barnard College Dog Cognition Lab in New York City. "We found that the dog's behavior is not dependent on what the dog did, but what the owner did."

In other words, they don't know that their actions are wrong, only that it will bring a negative reaction from their owners. The 2009 study by Barnard College supports her point. In that study, dogs gave the guilty look whenever they were scolded, whether they actually misbehaved or not.

However, pet owners are not convinced by the study.

"I completely disagree with that. [My dog] knows when he's done wrong. He will go as so far to punish himself and put himself in his crate," said dog owner Maria Peters.

Experts distinguish between primary motions like joy and fear and secondary emotions like pride and guilt. Dogs can only feel the primary emotions. So when he gives that guilty look, it's not because he feels guilty, but because he think's the owner's mad and feels fear.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • 1 Person Killed in Bethel Township Accident

    1 Person Killed in Bethel Township Accident

    Monday, September 1 2014 10:03 PM EDT2014-09-02 02:03:33 GMT
    1 person was killed in an accident in Bethel Township, Delaware County on Monday evening.Initial reports indicate that a vehicle may have hit a tree and overturned. It happened on the 3300 block of Foulk Road around 8:30pm.Foulk Road was closed for several hours while police investigated the crash scene.Stay with Fox 29 News for updates.
    1 person was killed in an accident in Bethel Township, Delaware County on Monday evening.Initial reports indicate that a vehicle may have hit a tree and overturned. It happened on the 3300 block of Foulk Road around 8:30pm.Foulk Road was closed for several hours while police investigated the crash scene.Stay with Fox 29 News for updates.
  • Council Rock South Mourns The Loss Of Three Classmates

    Council Rock South Mourns The Loss Of Three Classmates

    Monday, September 1 2014 5:23 PM EDT2014-09-01 21:23:09 GMT
    Three boys from Council Rock South High School died over the weekend when their SUV overturned.
    Three boys from Council Rock South High School died over the weekend when their SUV overturned.
  • Hamels, 3 Phillies relievers no-hit Braves

    Hamels, 3 Phillies relievers no-hit Braves

    Monday, September 1 2014 4:42 PM EDT2014-09-01 20:42:38 GMT
    Cole Hamels and three Philadelphia Phillies relievers combined to pitch a no-hitter Monday, beating the Atlanta Braves 7-0.
    Cole Hamels and three Philadelphia Phillies relievers combined to pitch a no-hitter Monday, beating the Atlanta Braves 7-0.
Powered by WorldNow

KDFW FOX 4
400 N. Griffin Street
Dallas, Texas 75202

Main Station Directory:
(214) 720-4444
News Fax:
(214) 720-3263 or (214) 720-3333

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices