Behaviorists: Dogs feel no shame despite the look

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Your dog may look guilty -- but that doesn't mean he feels guilty.

Despite all of those pictures on the so-called dog-shaming websites, in which dogs are surrounded by their misdeeds as they pose with a hand-written "confession," behaviorists say dogs lack shame. They say the guilty look -- with the head cowered, the ears back and the eyes droopy -- is just a reaction to the tantrum the dog's owner throws after discovering the damage the dog had done.

Dr. Bonnie Beaver of Texas A&M, who heads the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, says instead of trying to shame the dog who chewed up your favorite fuzzy slippers, you should just "get over it and remind yourself not to put temptation in the way next time."

Even the woman who started dogshaming.com says she doesn't think dogs actually feel shame. Pascale Lemire says dogs only know that their owner is "super mad about something" -- and that "he seems to calm down when I give him the sad face, so let's try that again."

She says her website -- with more than 65,000 images of guilty pets -- is good for a laugh, and to let pet owners know that "their dog isn't the only one who does awful things."

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165-v-28-(Rita Foley, AP correspondent)--Experts say dogs don't feel any shame -- even when they do something they know they shouldn't. AP correspondent Rita Foley reports. (26 Feb 2014)

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APPHOTO LA101: This Feb. 9, 2013 provided by Jeremy Lakaszcyck, shows Maymo a lemon beagle posing for a shame illustration in Merrimack Valley, Mass. In late 2011, Jeremy Lakaszcyck of Boston started putting shaming videos of Maymo, on YouTube but behaviorists insist dogs lack shame. The guilty look, head cowered, ears back, eyes droopy is a reaction to the tantrum you are throwing now over the damage they did hours earlier. But scientific findings haven't put a dent in the popularity of online dog shaming sites like dogshaming.com and shameyourpet.com or videos like those posted on youtube. (AP Photo/Jeremy Lakaszcyck) (9 Feb 2013)

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APPHOTO LA102: This Feb. 9, 2013 provided by Jeremy Lakaszcyck, shows Maymo a lemon beagle posing for a shame illustration in Merrimack Valley, Mass. In late 2011, Jeremy Lakaszcyck of Boston started putting shaming videos of Maymo, on YouTube but behaviorists insist dogs lack shame. The guilty look, head cowered, ears back, eyes droopy is a reaction to the tantrum you are throwing now over the damage they did hours earlier. But scientific findings haven't put a dent in the popularity of online dog shaming sites like dogshaming.com and shameyourpet.com or videos like those posted on youtube. (AP Photo/Jeremy Lakaszcyck) (19 Jan 2013)

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