By now I’m assuming many of you have seen Denver the Guilty dog. If not, it’s worth it.
The behaviorists will tell you, over and over again: Stop anthropomorphizing your pets. They do not feel shame or guilt.
I don’t know about that. For all the protesting that dogs forget what naughty things they did 5 seconds after committing the crime, that these intelligent beings simply disavow all knowledge and memory of their actions and are merely responding to our own disapproval, I know of way too many dogs like little Denver above who seem to embody just the opposite.
“They are just responding to your disapproval!” is the standard line. But what if you aren’t exhibiting any disapproval since you had no idea a crime was committed? Brody is the king of tipping his hand. No matter how happy or excited I am to see him, if he’s done something wrong his remorse wracked posturing gives him away. In fact, that’s the main reason I know to go hunting for some destroyed item or eaten delicacy.
And with that, I present the sequel to the Hairy Hambone: GUILTY!
I know it’s hard to believe, but I’ve never been formally trained in art. Those with talent, please forgive me.
So what say you? Do your pets carry a guilty conscience or do they float along oblivious to their transgressions?