My Dogs Don’t Act Guilty

Chase Little Bed

Chase Little Bed

I am one of those odd people who think that dogs don’t feel guilt. I think guilt is a human emotion. I am more of the mind that the dogs know Safe and Dangerous. And when you come home and your dog has gotten into the garbage and scattered it around, and he cowers… it’s not guilt. He just knows that you coming home with garbage scattered around is dangerous because you might explode for no reason that he can understand.

(oh and this is Chase trying to fit in the teeny dog bed I got for Jet. LOL)

Jet is in his chewing age now… he’s six months old and that’s to be expected. We do not, ever, get mad or punish him for chewing. Ever. We don’t do that with any of our dogs. We just direct him to something more productive. I do want him to know that some things are off limits, like cardboard displays or chairs or furniture, but I just push him away, tell him Leave It, and give him a bone that is a good thing for him to chew.

Lucy has Mega-esophagus and often regurgitates quite a bit. She is also pretty incontinent and will pee accidentally while she is laying down if we don’t take her out frequently.  But Lucy never, ever acts guilty for either of these acts.  I believe it’s because we have never punished the dogs for there being pee on the floor, or poop, or throw up… or the act of any of these.  So none of the dogs think these things are dangerous in any way and don’t show the ‘guilt’ signs that people interpret as guilt… but I interpret that the dog is afraid of something dangerous might happen.

I’m very proud of this.  I don’t want my dogs to think there are things dangerous in the world… mainly me or my husband.  I want them to feel safe at home. We train in other ways. We encourage success. We DO set boundaries and limits and the dogs have good manners.  But a growing puppy needs to chew, an incontinent dog is going to have accidents.  These are not reasons to punish… actually, there are not really any good reasons to punish. 🙂  Redirect, encourage, and set up for success. I love positive training!