What funny dog photos really show…

Anyone who has a Facebook account cannot avoid the plethora of “funny dog photos” we get shown on a day to day basis.  Many of them amuse me, but many more actually concern me a great deal, because the captions that come with them show a misunderstanding of what’s actually going on for our dogs.

Recently I stumbled upon a blog post which just shows “funny” dog pictures. Each of which is numbered. I felt it would be a good educational piece to point out what is (could be) actually going on in each situation.  To avoid copyright infringement I am not posting the photos here; all of them can be seen via this link:

http://justsomething.co/26-funny-photos-of-guilty-dogs/

  1. Who started it? Sometimes cats antagonise dogs, it’s not always just about dogs chasing cats.
  2. Destruction is usually a self soothing activity which a dog will engage in when they feel stressed.  Both dogs look visibly stressed to me (many owners mistake this for looking ‘guilty’)
  3. No doubt staged by the owners. Poor dogs must be very confused as to why they are being made to do this if this was the case.  Although there is a slim chance that the dog ‘riding’ may have climbed on top of the other dog to assert their position in the pack, and the border terrier decided to have none of it so stood up.
  4. This poor dog will be caught in the curtains because they have either been beside themselves with stress about a potential danger they have heard outside. Or beside themselves with stress because their owners aren’t in the house, so they will have been looking out the window frantically trying to see where they are.
  5. Two behaviours here! This dog obviously likes going through the bins. Hunting for food shows that the dog thinks it should be a provider, and therefore a leader of the pack. Also this dog is on the sofa, which shows he/she wants to gain height status, again, this links to leadership within the pack.
  6. The look on the face of the dog on the right is actually a look of concern/appeasement. They can sense that something is up, so are trying to avoid confrontation and appease their owner.
  7. This could be harmless play, or some dominant behaviour. Again, we don’t know who started this!
  8. This picture could be so many things. This dog may have learnt to sit/look like this in order to get attention/treats. He/she may be tired, or just trying to prevent their owner from going upstairs without getting past them
  9. Again, looks of concern/stress.
  10. We have selectively bred dogs for the puppy eyes.  They don’t know they look cute, but they quickly learn that this look is a winner!
  11. Again, destructive behaviour is usually as a result of stress.  Pulling the stuffing out of the insides of something is quite instinctive behaviour too (the innards out of the kill).
  12. Chewing is often as a result of stress, or attention seeking behaviour.  It’s difficult to tell from the picture, but it could be that this is post that has been destroyed.  The postman/woman (a potential intruder) comes to the house, the dog barks to guard the entrance, so the postman/woman doesn’t come in but puts something dangerous through the letter box.
  13. This picture is cute, but we don’t know what happened to cause this expression. This dog may be worried about something.
  14. Dogs do not experience guilt. They do not have a sense that things should be tidy or shouldn’t be destroyed. They do what they do because they think that it’s the only way to handle it.
  15. Again destructive behaviour is usually stress related.
  16. No doubt jumping up to investigate the new thing in the living room – is it safe? This is a dog who was worried about the arrival of something in the home… That or it got told off every time it when near the tree, so quickly learnt that was a good way to get attention!
  17. As per 12, dog which destroys things that come through the letter box is doing so because he/she is trying to protect the territory from the terrifying intrusion!
  18. Some dogs will hide in the bath if they are fearful of fireworks etc.
  19. Again, this dog looks concerned and wary about what might happen next, rather than guilty.
  20. This destruction is focused around the door, which is a clear sign of separation anxiety. The dog is stressed while the owners are out, so tries to get out of the door to go and look after them.
  21. I think this is a football? Toys are for play. Play involves teeth. Play is practice for the hunt. It’s to be expected.
  22. I am just surprised that only one cake was missing!  Dogs are opportunistic eaters, and if your dog doesn’t understand that you are in charge they will seek opportunities to eat on their own terms.
  23. Again – opportunistic.
  24. The big eyes are a clear sign of stress.  This pug will be wondering “why are the pack stressed and what should I be doing about it?”
  25. See other posts about destruction and stealing food.
  26. No – they don’t feel guilt!

I appreciate that it’s more amusing to put human thoughts and feelings on to these sorts of pictures, then the reality of the situation; but this post provided such an excellent teaching opportunity, that I had to use it as a marvelous example of how misunderstood funny dog behaviour generally is…!  Apologies for being a kill joy 🙂

If you want to learn to understand your own dog a little better, please get in touch, or post your comments below.

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