Dogs feel no shame?

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Dogs feel no shame?

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Old 02-27-2014, 12:50 PM
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Dogs feel no shame?

Behaviorists: Dogs feel no shame despite the look

I don't know if mine feel shame per se, but Lola at least is definitely aware when she has done something naughty. She'll walk into the room, slow and slightly slouched, sit down, look up at me, and wiggle her tail a bit. "Hmmm, you've been naughty, haven't you?" Sure enough, I'll find some minor crime scene she's created. At least she's honest with me and owns up to it.

What do you think? Does your dog actually feel shame?
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Old 02-27-2014, 01:19 PM
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No, they don't and what you're seeing is her response to previous incidents when she's been punished or scolded for a mess she's made. Dogs make associations pretty quickly and they are very good at reading our emotions. Lets say it's the first time you came home and found a mess she'd made. You exclaim something about the mess, directed at her. The next time, the same thing happens. Soon she learns that if there is garbage strewn around or a pillow chewed up my owner will be upset when she gets home. She's anticipating a negative reaction from you and offering appeasing body language which is what you're interpreting as shame or guilt.
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Old 02-27-2014, 01:33 PM
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My dogs feel no shame, which is why I am in awe of them and beg them to teach me their doggy ways.

That said, I do love a good dog shame photo because I can rationalize that at least my dogs have never knocked down my neighbor's kids and humped them so I must be doing something right.
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Old 02-27-2014, 01:44 PM
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Nope. The only time I get that look from Molly is when she has eaten a hair or string and has trouble getting it out the other end (sorry, I know that's gross). When we potty trained her, we startled her one-too-many times while interrupting her when she went on the carpet. Now, if we try to approach her to help her out when she has trouble passing a string, she throws appeasement gestures or tries to hide, even though she hasn't actually done something wrong. I feel absolutely horrible when she does this, because I know it's a fear response that was caused by something in the way I trained her.

Another example: When she was younger, she liked to chew on the couch cushions. We taught her not to by redirecting her and keeping her off of the back of the couch, and never needed to punish her for it. Once, when we were doing trial runs of letting her free roam while we weren't home, we came home to find the couch cushions everywhere and a hole in one of them. She didn't give a "guilty look" at all, because she wasn't expecting punishment. We always crate her when we go out now, to prevent these "naughty" behaviors in the first place.
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Old 02-27-2014, 01:45 PM
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Grabby - Yes, I know she doesn't actually feel shame, which is why I was being a little silly about it. But thank you for putting it in much more eloquent language than I could have. Pretty much sums up the whole argument.

Of course, like Gingersnaps, that's not going to stop me from laughing at more dog shaming photos!
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Old 02-27-2014, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clegane View Post
Grabby - Yes, I know she doesn't actually feel shame, which is why I was being a little silly about it. But thank you for putting it in much more eloquent language than I could have. Pretty much sums up the whole argument.

Of course, like Gingersnaps, that's not going to stop me from laughing at more dog shaming photos!
Sorry, sometimes I take things too seriously. I love the dog shaming pictures too and I'm not ashamed to admit it.
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Old 02-27-2014, 02:23 PM
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I think my oldest does.If I seen she ate something,I don't even have to say a word.The look on her face is guilt her ears are back like she's saying I'm sorry mom.Does she learn not to do it again?NO!
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Old 02-27-2014, 02:24 PM
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I had a dog who when she pooped in the house would meet us at the door with a plastic bag in her mouth. She was never punished for going inside or out, she just wanted to help. I know that is super anthropomorphic and therefore dangerous, but I do believe some dogs are more self aware than others.
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Old 02-27-2014, 03:13 PM
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Toby is definitely shameless. If he was a human, I think he'd be equally shameless but that's just me

He does get 'shifty' though if he sees something he's doing as 'questionable'. During my grade-school days he was a really determined sandwich-thief (learned how to unzip backpacks) and would always go hide somewhere with his forbidden fruit before partaking in it. I think by now he suspects that if he finds something too good to be true, it probably is, and we will probably confiscate it as soon as we get wind.
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Old 02-27-2014, 05:01 PM
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Nope. To be a bit psych-nerdy - when people say shame in this context, they usually mean guilt. While I don't think dogs can feel shame (or guilt) it might be possible that some highly evolved species (like bonobos) are capable of feeling shame.
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