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Guilty Dog
March 17, 2011 12:09 PM   Subscribe

Who ate the kitty cat treats? The guiltiest dog ever. via
posted by Foci for Analysis (86 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
The look of regret on that dogs face!
posted by el chupa nibre at 12:11 PM on March 17, 2011


Regret...or indigestion?
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:12 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


It was totally the cat.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:15 PM on March 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


At least nobody ratted him out...
posted by Rykey at 12:17 PM on March 17, 2011 [25 favorites]


There's such a difference between how cats and dogs (in my experience) react to doing something bad. If you catch a dog doing something wrong, it looks at you sullenly with the saddest widdle face in the world. If you catch a cat doing something wrong, it freezes in place, abiding by the "if I keep peeerrrrfectly still she'll eventually forget I'm here and I can go back to shredding the furniture" rule.
posted by phunniemee at 12:18 PM on March 17, 2011 [10 favorites]


I was JUST gonna post this. I love guilty dogs.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:22 PM on March 17, 2011


I love it when dogs 'smile.'
posted by Windigo at 12:22 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


That didn't look like a smile to me so much as a I'm gonna eat your face if you keep this up look.
posted by dig_duggler at 12:23 PM on March 17, 2011 [8 favorites]


There's such a difference between how cats and dogs (in my experience) react to doing something bad.

That's because by if a cat does something, it is by definition not wrong. Guilt is as foreign to cats as thumbs are to fish.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:24 PM on March 17, 2011 [50 favorites]


Woody Harrelson apparently has two dogs and a cat.
posted by found missing at 12:24 PM on March 17, 2011 [10 favorites]


For some reason, the "Song by:" bit on that video is particularly unhelpful, despite giving us the name of the artist. The song is "Please," the last track on John Carrie and Moore Green's debut album, Folk Is Not Happy.
posted by Ian A.T. at 12:27 PM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's all that Knotty (naughty) Pine.
posted by pianomover at 12:28 PM on March 17, 2011


That was unbelievable.
posted by pwally at 12:28 PM on March 17, 2011


Woody Harrelson apparently has two dogs and a cat.

I was all like, "What? That doesn't sound anything like Woody Harrelson." And then I went back and I watched it over again, and oh my God, that's Woody Harrelson. I mean, listen to it and tell me it's not.
posted by kbanas at 12:29 PM on March 17, 2011


Oh man... My dog won't look at me when she's done something wrong, either.
posted by brand-gnu at 12:29 PM on March 17, 2011


>That didn't look like a smile to me so much as a I'm gonna eat your face if you keep this up look.
Bearing teeth in that manner can be an act of submission.
posted by Virtblue at 12:29 PM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Man, I busted my dog in the act of sneaking some thawing chicken off the counter one time, at least a year ago, and kinda temp-banned him from the kitchen. I yelled "NOOO! BAD DOG!!" and *threatened* him with rolled up news paper, then made him go *shudder* ... outside. (I know, cruel, right? I'm horrible)

If I'm in there cooking, he'll kinda skulk in the doorway, and if I so much as look at him, his head drops, and he backs slowly away with this sad "busted" look on his face. I have to call him into the kitchen to get him to even set foot in the room, and even then, if I give him a treat and say "good boy!" he still snatches it and runs for the relative safety of the family room.

Dogs are pretty funny animals -- it's sure a different vibe from having had cats all my life, who most likely would have taken a retaliatory shit on my laundry in similar circumstances.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:30 PM on March 17, 2011 [18 favorites]


I love dogs.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:31 PM on March 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


One of our dogs stole an entire birthday cake off a kitchen bench when we went to the front door to let in visitors. He showed absolutely no remorse. We would have denied it was him till the day he died. Despite the cake crumbs all around his muzzle.
posted by greenhornet at 12:32 PM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


My and my SO watched this last night and we both burst in fits of hysterical laughter when the camera panned up from the blameless dog to the guilty one who is furiously trying to avoid eye contact.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 12:33 PM on March 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


I've always had cats, so watching this video feels a bit like someone telling me that there's a base on the moon that people have been living in for 50 years and everyone else already knew about it.
posted by theodolite at 12:35 PM on March 17, 2011 [18 favorites]


Guilty Dog, meet Confounded Dog
posted by P.o.B. at 12:35 PM on March 17, 2011 [8 favorites]


My cat usually looks at me like "Fuck, you're the idiot who left his full bowl of milk and cereal on the kitchen table while he went to take a leak. Don't be so careless next time and you won't come back to find a cat drinking all your milk."
posted by octothorpe at 12:40 PM on March 17, 2011 [23 favorites]


That dog guilt face is not the dog actually feeling guilty. The dog will make that face when scolded even if he has done nothing wrong.
posted by Plutor at 12:41 PM on March 17, 2011 [19 favorites]


My cats will run away from whatever they're doing bad once they've noticed that I've noticed them doing it. Or if I say their name sternly enough.

Also, dear Confounded Dog: it helps if you don't look at the laptop upside down.
posted by shesdeadimalive at 12:43 PM on March 17, 2011


That's because by if a cat does something, it is by definition not wrong.

NIXON WAS A CAT!
posted by COBRA! at 12:43 PM on March 17, 2011 [9 favorites]


A similar video came out back around Christmas time.

The dog will make that face when scolded even if he has done nothing wrong.

Don't step on my anthropomorphizing dream!
posted by Rykey at 12:44 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


This made my day :D

My old dog would 'grin' like that when one of us came home from school/work. She'd stand on the stairs by the door, wiggling and dancing back and forth and smiling at us. At least, that's how we interpreted it.
posted by torisaur at 12:45 PM on March 17, 2011


There's such a difference between how cats and dogs (in my experience) react to doing something bad. If you catch a dog doing something wrong, it looks at you sullenly with the saddest widdle face in the world. If you catch a cat doing something wrong, it freezes in place, abiding by the "if I keep peeerrrrfectly still she'll eventually forget I'm here and I can go back to shredding the furniture" rule.

That is because dogs have some rudimentary sense of right and wrong. Cats only know desire and avoidance. IANAP, but I think this makes them technically sociopaths.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:45 PM on March 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


If you catch a cat doing something wrong, it freezes in place,

This is true of all my cats, who will stand there with a "what?" look about them. All except my Siamese, who will go into full-on ferret mode, where she drops to about an inch off the ground and streaks away in a serpentine weaving pattern to avoid getting hit with the spray bottle (regardless of whether or not a spray bottle has been made visible).

I believe that this is because 1.) Siamese are very dog-like for being cats and recognize guilt (and wants as far away from it as possible). and 2.) my particular Siamese is both cunning as a commando and is a complete shit.
posted by quin at 12:52 PM on March 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


This made me cry. That emotionally remorseful pooch. Soooo remorseful.
posted by nickyskye at 12:52 PM on March 17, 2011


As Jean Donaldson puts it, dogs seem to think in terms of "safe" and "unsafe." If a higher status animal scolds them for something, that behavior is unsafe, and they learn not to do it, or to hide it, or to do it only when they just have to and then act as submissive and ingratiating as possible when busted.

Whereas my cats' attitude about all infractions is, universally, "Yeah? So what? You wanna make something of it?" Seriously, they have never been allowed on the kitchen counters, ever, in 10 years. Does that stop them from getting up on the counters roughly 72 times a day? Oh hell nawl. In fact, two of them will hop up and go to sleep on the (flat electric) stove burner that I took a boiling teakettle off of 5 minutes before, despite having scorched a toe pad or two doing it over the years.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:55 PM on March 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


I also came in here to mention Woody Harrelsoon.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:56 PM on March 17, 2011


That dog guilt face is not the dog actually feeling guilty.

I bet you're just a blast at parties.
posted by marxchivist at 12:58 PM on March 17, 2011 [28 favorites]


That dog guilt face is not the dog actually feeling guilty.

I bet you're just a blast at parties.


Vikings didn't have horns! Pedant Solidarity!
posted by FatherDagon at 1:00 PM on March 17, 2011 [19 favorites]


Otis? Is that you?
posted by Fezboy! at 1:02 PM on March 17, 2011


It was totally the bandanna dog who ate the treats. He is just better at remaining coll under pressure. "What? No not me man... check out jimmy the rat over there, he totally looks guilty to me he he he"
posted by edgeways at 1:03 PM on March 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


New cat has learned that a sweetly applied cuddle on the husband's lap can be extended to an adorable stretch up to his shoulder and from thence a paw can be applied to the dinner plate with leftovers that he leaves on the other arm of the desk.
She used to get in trouble for licking the plate from his shoulder, but cat logic asserts that the paw is not her tongue and is therefore allowed. No guilt.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 1:04 PM on March 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


That dog guilt face is not the dog actually feeling guilty. The dog will make that face when scolded even if he has done nothing wrong.

What does "feeling guilty" mean? Whether we're discussing people or dogs, people generally "feel guilty" when they're caught (or when they're imagining having been caught.) The guilty face is a submissive face -- really an attempt to avoid or minimize punishment. "See? I feel guilty? I'm low - literally low, I know my place is below you. You don't need to demonstrate it by punishing me. I did what you didn't want me to do, but I recognize your authority."

Cats, not having the same social hierarchies as dogs and humans, do not "feel guilty" or act like it. They will scamper to avoid punishment, but they do not seek to assure you of your higher status because they don't know that there is such a thing as status.

That is because dogs have some rudimentary sense of right and wrong. Cats only know desire and avoidance. IANAP, but I think this makes them technically sociopaths.

Don't fool yourself. Most "right" and "wrong" is about desire and avoidance, too. It just implies a recognition of the hierarchy. In most societies, what the top dog does or demands is right by definition. (That's why humans had to invent the Big Dog in the Sky and various other abstractions.)
posted by callmejay at 1:05 PM on March 17, 2011 [27 favorites]


I love this. That is all.
posted by blucevalo at 1:05 PM on March 17, 2011


When my cats do something that they know is wrong, they get very jumpy and sheepish. Not because it's wrong, but because they know Dad will get angry if they get caught.

I was building a PC the other day and kept having to shoo Sam (Sammiches in full) out of the empty parts box. The next time she poked her head in, I waited until she got her entire head in there and front legs, while keeping the rest of her body out. So I just quietly got close and placed my hand on her backside gently while saying her name. That cat must have sprung four feet in the air in an instant and then took off to the other end of the apartment in a flash. I love cats.

That said, I totally want a dog too, and videos like this only fuel the desire and the girlfriend pressure to acquire a canine. Thanks!
posted by utsutsu at 1:07 PM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Cats, not having the same social hierarchies as dogs and humans, do not "feel guilty" or act like it. They will scamper to avoid punishment, but they do not seek to assure you of your higher status because they don't know that there is such a thing as status.

Sous les pavés, la litière !
posted by theodolite at 1:08 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


That dog guilt face is not the dog actually feeling guilty. The dog will make that face when scolded even if he has done nothing wrong.

Oh my god. It was the cat!
posted by Deathalicious at 1:09 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


They will scamper to avoid punishment, but they do not seek to assure you of your higher status because they don't know that there is such a thing as status.

Not entirely true, but maybe more true for cats that have been separated from other cats at a young age. Cats are pack animals, and will behave submissively to an alpha. I make myself the alpha in my house and the cats will do things like take submissive postures or switch from aggressive to placating if I show displeasure.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 1:09 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


This video reminds me of when one of my dad's dogs, Shadow, jumped up on the counter and grabbed a steak about to go on the grill.

So my dad is standing there scolding Shadow. When he's done we look at the floor and... and the steak was gone! We walk into the other room to see Princess, the yellow lab, lying there with her paws crossed (she often does this) and not the slightest bit of guilt on her face - and she WILL give a great guilty face!

She totally knew that the steak was 100% fair game once it was on the floor. We're convinced that she told Shadow to go grab the steak...
posted by alaijmw at 1:10 PM on March 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


The original guilty dog.
posted by fatbird at 1:15 PM on March 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Vikings didn't have horns! Pedant Solidarity!

The dog does not have horns.
∴ The dog is a Viking!

Syllogist Solidarity!
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:22 PM on March 17, 2011 [19 favorites]


The lip licking and the almost tucked under tail at the end are signs of nervousness (but they can also be calming signals). And the wrinkled muzzle on the teeth bare could indicate aggression. I know just enough about all of this to get it all wrong.
posted by dig_duggler at 1:25 PM on March 17, 2011


Self-proclaimed dog behavior expert here. Number 2 suspect was probably guilty but possibly not for the reasons you think. When I adopt a certain accusatory tone in my voice, one of my dogs automatically acts guilty, no matter what she has done. If I say she is guilty, she believes she is guilty. The only reason why I think number 2 suspect is guilty is because number 1 suspect didn't show the slightest bit of interest pr reaction to the smell of the treats when presented with them. That's unlikely to be the behavior of a dog who would woof down a whole packet of them.
posted by vizsla at 1:30 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


One of my in-laws' dogs chewed up a flip-flop belonging to my wife. Simply holding up the injured shoe would make him turn tail and hide. No yelling, no accusatory tone, just revealing the shoe. Their other dog didn't react to the shoe at all, and other shoes didn't produce the same effect. If that's not a guilty dog, I don't know what is.
posted by borkencode at 1:37 PM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


The dog does not have horns.
∴ The dog is a Viking!

Syllogist Solidarity!


LITERAL Viking.

Ralph Solidarity!
posted by FatherDagon at 1:37 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ralph Wiggum: My cat dog's breath smells like cat food treats.
posted by tommasz at 1:39 PM on March 17, 2011


I thought the guilty dog barks first?
posted by orrnyereg at 1:49 PM on March 17, 2011


Also: to keep my cat humble I like to carry her around the apartment and explain to her that certain things are her fault. "See those magazines strewn everywhere, Dolley? That's your fault. And the scratched-up ottoman? That's your fault, too." And she purrs happily and smirks at me.
posted by orrnyereg at 1:51 PM on March 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


Oh man I spend hours trying to make my cat feel guilty for not having a job or pulling his weight. It never works.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 2:02 PM on March 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


In my house (1 dog, infinite cats), it is almost always the dog who is found guilty of the offenses. It is my firm belief that Charlie Bad Dog realizes she has committed an infraction, and then wishes for the means to make things right. My evidence for this is admittedly slim, but she definitely did flip the rug over when she temporarily forgot her house-training.

The cats have been known to rule break, but because of the innate injustice of the world, the cats have fewer rules to abide by. Mostly, the ringleader cat (Malchik) will jump to the top of the refrigerator, open a cabinet above the fridge, then dislodge the catnip tub and cat treats to the floor. Where the dog can then eat them all, and get in trouble for her mischief.

Oh, Charlie Bad Dog, will you never win?
posted by palindromic at 2:11 PM on March 17, 2011 [8 favorites]


It never works.

That's because you are completely misunderstanding the relationship; your cat does have a job. It's job is to keep you from getting above your station in life;

Because whenever you think you are awesome and full of greatness, all it takes is a cat effortless jumping from the floor to the top of the fridge to remind you of all the things you can't do. Like spending an entire day sleeping in a sunbeam, or casually walking across the top of a door.

Cat's jobs are to look down on us.

Which is why I also have a dog.
posted by quin at 2:15 PM on March 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


Guilt is as foreign to cats as thumbs are to fish.

Not if they can apply it to you. We had a rough patch there in college when we all had was only onions to eat. We put chopped onions in the cat's bowl. His hang-dog posture, and woe-is-me looks where all directed to the door of the kitchen, where we watched him from. But we could silently sneak over to a window looking in on the kitchen. When he realizes that we aren't there to watch his guilt-tripping, he stands up and walks away.
posted by StickyCarpet at 3:09 PM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Our cat Spike gets up on the countertop, knocks over a box (usually human crackers) and will sit up there and shoot them at the waiting dog below, much to her great delight. They are completely in cahoots, and I have caught them doing this more than once. When I do, Spike freezes and sometimes looks away and pretends to not be there...then goes right back to doing it the second he can't see me watching him.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 3:17 PM on March 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


One of my dogs lovedlovedloved raw eggs. When he discovered that the eggs live in the big white box, he taught himself to open the box and grab the eggs for a mid-day treat. When I got home, the fridge door was open, the empty carton was splayed out in front of it, there were tiny bits of shell scattered on the floor, and the dog was looking shifty-eyed. I pointed to the mess and sent him to the bad-dog corner on the deck. Over the next few weeks, he taught himself to shut the door, hide the carton, and lick up the shells—but hard as he tried, he could never control the shifty eyes. We reached the point where he'd barrel past me when I opened the apartment door and head straight for bad-dog corner, shifty-eyed but unrepentant. I put a hasp on the fridge door.
posted by dogrose at 3:22 PM on March 17, 2011 [54 favorites]


BitterOldPunk: "That's because by if a cat does something, it is by definition not wrong."

If the purr-resident does it, it's not illegal.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:28 PM on March 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


Cats are pack animals, and will behave submissively to an alpha. I make myself the alpha in my house and the cats will do things like take submissive postures or switch from aggressive to placating if I show displeasure.

It's this way in my house, too. There is a definite pecking order among me and the cats, and sometimes I am even at the top of it.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:03 PM on March 17, 2011


Cats are pack animals

cite pls
posted by found missing at 4:05 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


That dog guilt face is not the dog actually feeling guilty. The dog will make that face when scolded even if he has done nothing wrong.

Boy, that summary science article was either jumping to conclusions or the researchers were. I'll give you that a dog that is scolded will act like they are being scolded. Film at 11. Any dog owner knows that. However, that does not mean that dogs do not feel guilt (whether exactly as we do or an overly submissive feeling self-generated in the face of acting out of line with an alpha). If that's the extent of creativity and insight in the field, we need some new animal behavioural scientists.

We have two dogs now, but one we brought home long before the other. The older dog has always shown signs of guilt when it did something wrong. We'd come home and the dog wouldn't greet us, or we'd find it in the other room, under the bed. We didn't say a single word, we just came home...there wasn't a chance to scold or blame. The dog was reacting to its own actions, not ours. Usually we'd know something was wrong by the dog's attitude long before we found what it did.

We then thought about the issue of "who did it" when we added a second dog. We have tried extremely hard not to scold or blame or do anything to tip off the issue of "who did it." We might, for example, confront them both at the same time knowing full well who did it based on various evidence. We will ask them both calmly, "Who did it?" or "What's this?" We were, frankly, conducting our own experiments. That's what you get when two science majors get married.

We're batting nearly a 1000 on the dog that looks guilty being the dog that did it.
posted by Muddler at 4:18 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


This some clever marketing.
posted by klue at 4:22 PM on March 17, 2011


We had a rough patch there in college when we all had was only onions to eat. We put chopped onions in the cat's bowl.

what
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:49 PM on March 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Cats are pack animals

cite pls


The Naughty Cat Gang from Mr Pusskins
Top Cat and Friends
Thundercats
posted by obiwanwasabi at 5:13 PM on March 17, 2011 [13 favorites]


That dog guilt face is not the dog actually feeling guilty. The dog will make that face when scolded even if he has done nothing wrong.

Well sure, they'll take that submissive posture when scolded, but they'll also do it when they've done something they know they're not supposed to do. Just ask any dog owner who's been greeted at the door with that behavior, to find an unpleasant surprise waiting within.

Cats are pack animals, and will behave submissively to an alpha. I make myself the alpha in my house and the cats will do things like take submissive postures or switch from aggressive to placating if I show displeasure.

I wouldn't call them pack animals, but they often submit to hierarchy. Most animals will, when placed in a group.

I have parakeets. I am sadly not a the top of their little parakeet hierarchy.
posted by zennie at 5:14 PM on March 17, 2011


I suppose this is as good a time as any to revisit this old item about the differences between dogs' and cats' thinking.
posted by Rykey at 5:22 PM on March 17, 2011


I have a monstrously huge cat. (Amongst the menagerie here.) Buzz has framed the dogs for stuff she does. We've seen her doing it. When she mangled a cat treat bag, it looked just like that...but then she dragged it over to where the dogs sleep, and left it there. For the record; my youngest dog...who is a bit dippy...walked over to sniff the bag and proceeded to look guilty for days, even though we knew she hadn't done it and she wasn't scolded for it.

(That said, this is the dog that ate a coke can, a hoe, the better part of a trellis and a baker's dozen assortment of soccer balls, basketballs, and other sports accoutrement ...she was a teething fool for a while there...so, if something is chewed to bits, the odds are it was her.)

Buzz (the cat) has torn up all sorts of stuff, and she always drags her kills to other people/animal spots, so as to make it look like they...yes THEY...were responsible for decapitating the rubber duck, shredding cashmere socks, and bringing dead bug parts in to share.

So, as guilty as this post's dog may look...I'm with TheWhiteSkull...the cat totally did it.
posted by dejah420 at 5:27 PM on March 17, 2011 [3 favorites]



We had a rough patch there in college when we all had was only onions to eat. We put chopped onions in the cat's bowl.

Good thing he didn't eat them; onions are very toxic to cats.

Anyway, that dog's guilt act is hilarious; I've never seen a face like that.
posted by OolooKitty at 5:35 PM on March 17, 2011


As if to prove a point, my cat walked across my keyboard while I was reading this and opened 32 tabs.
posted by MaritaCov at 6:04 PM on March 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


[Cats] will scamper to avoid punishment, but they do not seek to assure you of your higher status because they don't know that there is such a thing as status. [Emphasis mine.]

Now I know why I love cats.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 6:55 PM on March 17, 2011


Attention animal behavioral "science" know-it-alls: the test has not yet been invented that can conclusively determine that dogs do not feel guilt.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:03 PM on March 17, 2011


Smarl. That's what the dog is doing with its teeth. Definately a sign of submission.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 8:39 PM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Over the next few weeks, he taught himself to shut the door, hide the carton, and lick up the shells

That is my favorite thing I've ever read on the internet.
posted by fshgrl at 9:42 PM on March 17, 2011


> That dog guilt face is not the dog actually feeling guilty. The dog will make that face when scolded even if he has done nothing wrong.

That is true, but that does not mean that you can't find a difference in behavior when the dog has done something as when he hasn't.

If you pay attention, there are a wealth of subtleties of behavior to pick up on that will tell you everything you need to know. But if you start scolding first and making them submissive, yeah, they're going to be submissive and look guilty regardless of whether they did something or not.

Even the article you linked to gives us a peek at this: the dogs that were obedient in the test the article describes looked "more guilty" when scolded. They were, in fact, different in behavior from the disobedient dogs, but our interpretation of their reaction is tuned backwards.

The guilt face from scolding is indeed not the best indicator, but pay attention to their behavior before any scolding occurs. Get to know your dogs well enough and eventually you'll sniff out their "tells".
posted by legion at 9:51 PM on March 17, 2011


> Over the next few weeks, he taught himself to shut the door, hide the carton, and lick up the shells—but hard as he tried, he could never control the shifty eyes.

Now that's exactly what I was talking about in my last post.
posted by legion at 9:52 PM on March 17, 2011


My big dumb newfoundland doesn't actually have a guilty look. Really doesn't seem to feel guilty at all. If scolded, she'll plop down on her pillow with a big sigh and just wait until the coast is clear for more mischief.

But what is interesting to me, is that the dog perfectly understands the concept of stealing. I noticed this for the first time at 3 months after adopting her. The girlfriend had put a new dog toy on the counter while unloading groceries, fully intending to play with the dog when everything was done. But the newfoundland couldn't wait. She watched patiently until girlfriend's back was turned, then stole the toy from the counter and ran off.

When she steals, she runs very differently than normal. Tail is high, her back slightly curved, and she prances like one of those silly show horses with the high step and all. Yay! I stole something! Bounce! Bounce! She only prances when she's stolen something and never at any other time.

She does this every time she manages to take a toy or food away from the other dog, every time a bag of dog treats was left open. Gives her this enormous pleasure for some reason. However, she never steals our food or anything which could conceivably belong to us. It's a weird ethical system this big dumb dog seems to have.
posted by honestcoyote at 11:05 PM on March 17, 2011 [5 favorites]



One guilty Boston Terrier



All this talk of air strikes today makes me think we need more silly puppy videos...
posted by ironbob at 3:34 AM on March 18, 2011


When she steals, she runs very differently than normal. Tail is high, her back slightly curved, and she prances like one of those silly show horses with the high step and all. Yay! I stole something! Bounce! Bounce!

When my brother's dog was younger, she'd do this every time she got a new treat or toy. She'd prance proudly around to everyone in the house and show off her new plaything before finally settling into a corner and tearing into it. Now that she's a couple years old, the prancing only lasts long enough for her to get to her dog bed. But it's some damn fine prancing.
posted by phunniemee at 5:05 AM on March 18, 2011


"When someone smiles at me, all I see is a chimpanzee begging for its life."
posted by squirrel at 5:33 AM on March 18, 2011


The cat totally ate those kitty treats and framed the (probably chronically apologetic) dog for the crime.

When my cats were little kittens, we had a cat condo little house for them to sleep in. At first, they resisted spending the night away from us, but after a few days they seemed to accept the arrangement. We thought it was cute how, even though it was three levels tall, the kittens always went in the same level and huddled up together at night to sleep.

Until they started throwing up, and I investigated to find out what was making my adorable little kittens so sick.

Seems they had stolen a pouch of Friskies kitty treats from the pantry, carried it into the kitty condo and hidden it away. Whenever they went in there, they weren't sleeping, they were nomnomnoming on the snacks. Their meek compliance was actually a cover-up for their crime. They were getting sick from gorging on the treats (which, ironically, were hairball-preventative).

The chewed-open packet looked just like that one in the guilty dog video, too.
posted by misha at 10:53 AM on March 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Our ginger tabby, Margaret Scratcher, works as a team with our Murph hound. Since the cat can go places Murph can't, she throws things down to him and he drags them into his crate. There was an incident with a pork medallion that had dire consequences for everyone in the house later in the evening. I don't know what Margaret gets out of the deal, since Murph wolfs everything down so quickly, but I have no problem blaming Denver's kitty friend, if not for eating the treats then at least leaving them completely accessible to him. The cat should go into the penalty box on principle.
posted by Heretic at 1:17 PM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


After reading all these comments, it occurs to me that if you're used to being interacted with (in this case, punished) in a certain way, you get to know the drill and you might just go into auto-pilot and play your part. Like people do in lots of ways.

I'm not saying the dog didn't do it, just that if he didn't, the reaction could look the same. (Sorry if I'm repeating what others said.)

It was hard for me to watch the video. I was hoping for an all-clear at the end.
posted by Sarah Jane at 5:42 PM on March 18, 2011


I had a cat, a hellaciously intelligent cat*, that would periodically pee or poop outside her box, usually as a statement of hostility (over being left behind, over being taken along on a trip, etc...).

On those occasions, when I came home, she would greet me at the door differently. I learned to pick up on this guilty/regretful display, markedly different from the excited/fauning for petting display (instead of dropping onto her back in front of me, inviting a belly rub, she meow plaintively and pace back&forth), and search the house for the "surprise" location.

Anecdotal, but that cat displayed guilt. You can rephrase her behavior in other words, but it's hard to "prove" her actions didn't correspond with a motivation very similar to human "guilt".

* How intelligent? As a rescue kitty of ?10? weeks, I watched her discover the miracle of mirrors. A full-length mirror was resting on my bedroom floor, its base about a foot off the wall. First she invited the mirror kitten to play, then went around the mirror to find it, repeated a few times, then... stared at the kitten while sitting at the edge of the mirror, and reached around to bat the elusive little bugger in the head. When that didn't work, I watched her puzzle for a while, and sit back, giving up on catching the phantom cat. She'd figured mirrors out that fast... as least, as far as she understood mirrors, ever.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:46 PM on March 18, 2011


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