Golden Retriever's 'Crawl of Shame' Leaves Internet in Hysterics

A video of a golden retriever seemingly looking guilty after doing "something bad" has gone viral on TikTok, where it had over 692,000 views at the time of this writing.

The video, shared by the TikTok account Maui & Ruby, was posted with a caption that read: "The crawl of shame #goldenretriever #funnyvideo #andGO #guilty."

A voice in the video asks "Why do you look so guilty? What have you been up to while I was gone?" as the golden retriever is shown with squinty eyes and mouth open with its tongue out, while lying on the floor with its tail wagging.

The voice says "Am I gonna find something bad?" before the dog can be seen crawling sheepishly along the floor. The footage then shows a pile of tissues, papers and other garbage, as the voice asks "Why? Walter, why?"

Dog on couch with ripped toilet paper.
A stock image of a dog sitting on a couch surrounded by ripped-up toilet tissue. A post about a golden retriever doing a "crawl of shame" has gone viral on TikTok. iStock / Getty Images Plus

As guilt-ridden as the golden retriever in the latest video may have appeared, can dogs really feel guilt?

In an article for VCA, one of North America's largest animal hospital chains operating over 1,000 facilities, veterinarians Debra Horwitz, Gary Landsberg, Theresa DePorter and Jamie Joswich said: "Don't assume that your dog knows that he did something wrong just because he lays down and rolls over on his back; in fact, he probably has no idea what you want he just hopes this grand canine gesture of appeasement will work."

The veterinarians explained: "Often, submissive or appeasement signals are misinterpreted by owners to be indicative of 'guilt' following an undesirable behavior."

However, dogs displaying such postures are "likely responding to discernible human body language or past association with punishment and are attempting to lessen predictable forthcoming punishment based on previous experience. Simply put, the dog is saying 'don't hurt me,'" they said.

In a January 2020 article for the American Kennel Club, the world's largest purebred dog registry, Stephanie Gibeault, a certified personal dog trainer, explained that dogs' eyes can either appear hard or soft. Those with soft eyes have relaxed lids and it may look like the dog is squinting. These eyes signal that the dog is calm or happy, she said.

"When dogs feel stressed, they will pointedly look away and avoid eye contact. People often interpret this as their dog ignoring them or being stubborn, but the dog is expressing discomfort," the dog trainer said.

The play bow, which is when a dog places its "chest on the ground with their rump in the air" is a form of body language that is used to initiate play with other dogs and people, Gibeault said.

A June 2019 study in the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) stated that "the most remarkable among dogs' behavioral adaptations, as a result of selection during domestication, is their ability to read and use human communication in ways that other animals cannot."

The study said recent research has found that dogs "establish eye contact with humans when they cannot solve a problem on their own."

The latest viral video has seen TikTok users in stitches.

In a comment that got 2,570 likes, Zeke the Samoyed said "The crawl [crying laughing emojis] 'if I stay low they can't see me' haha," to which the original poster replied "Haha, love this logic!! [crying laughing emojis]."

Jack wrote: "I'm dying at the army crawl it's a whole new level last eye squints and head look always."

Chanel C said "[crying laughing emojis] this is too funny," while Steve852 said: "The expressions are priceless."

User godgoddesspower simply wrote: "The guilt [crying floods of tears and red heart emojis]."

Newsweek has contacted the original poster for comment. The latest video has not been independently verified.

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