Dogs come running to owner when he gets home, until he asks about his chewed-up sweatpants

Who tore my pants up, though? (Video)

Sometimes you really can blame it on the dog, because he tells you right away that it’s guilty of something. A tucked tail, droopy ears and reluctance to make eye contact are telltale signs that something is amiss. Etienne Harris noticed the signs in Missy, one of his female pit bull terriers, after he came home one day to discover that a pair of his sweatpants had been chewed up. In the video, Harris recorded himself greeting both dogs, and Missy is definitely behaving shyly.

Pit bulls Missy and Laydie are super excited to see Etienne Harris when he gets home. But when he asks which of them might have chewed up his sweatpants, everything changed! The two guilty dogs take their wiggle butts right out of the room. Missy eventually overcomes her reluctance and approaches Harris. After he pets her warmly and asks her about her day, he changes his tone of voice and asks, “Who tore my pants up, though?” Both dogs immediately turn away and head out the door, Missy looking guiltily over her shoulder as she departs. “Oh, y’all don’t want to talk about that?” Harris asks. Twice more, Harris calls the dogs over to him in an encouraging tone; twice they turn tail when he switches to a sterner voice and asks who tore up his pants. 

Are the dogs feeling guilty?

The answer is unclear. But dad isn’t really upset; he just wants to gently tease them before giving them lots of affectionate pats on the head. The tucked tail and drooped ears are more likely signs of submission, communicating that the dog is yielding to a higher-ranking member of its pack. “The dog’s body language … is simply a submissive response to the body language the higher ranking person is using,” says Bonnie Beaver, board-certified veterinary behaviorist and professor of veterinary medicine at Texas A&M University. Beaver said, “Since animals ‘live in the moment’ and do what seems appropriate to them at the time, it is doubtful they know the feeling of guilt as we do.”

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