Your Dog’s Guilty Look May Come From Wolves

Your Dog’s Guilty Look May Come From Wolves

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When your pooch bows his head low and looks at you with big sad eyes after he’s chewed on your shoes, he may be using a complex survival tactic evolved from wolves.

According to Nathan H. Lents, a molecular biologist with the City University of New York, young wolves use the “apology bow” as they begin social integration into a pack.

If the young wolf bites too hard, for example, he might be spurned by the pack. He will then use the apology bow to get back in the group’s good graces.

“Dogs have inherited this behavior and they will use it after any kind of infraction that results in being punished,” Lents wrote in Psychology Today. “As social animals, they crave harmonious integration in the group and neglect or isolation is painful for them.”

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“Dogs have inherited this behavior and they will use it after any kind of infraction that results in being punished. As social animals, they crave harmonious integration in the group and neglect or isolation is painful for them.”

Check out Nathan’s book, Not So Different: Finding Human Nature in Animals, that discusses how animals –like us –fall in love, get jealous, exchange valuable goods and services, hold ‘funerals’ for fallen comrades, develop irrational phobias, and communicate using rich vocabularies (prairie dogs even name the humans they encounter).

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CC Photo by George Thomas

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