Apology Bow: What Dogs Are Actually Trying To Say


If you’ve ever owned a dog, you’ve already seen it: the face a dog makes when it knows it did something that will upset you. Big eyes, bowed head. We recognize it as a dog being guilty, and it is the cutest thing in the world!


Image source : ytmig.com

But there is actually a scientific explanation to this behavior. According to a study by Nathan H. Lents, a molecular biologist with the City of University of New York, they have inherited the trait from their wolf relatives.

Wolves are social creatures needing the approval of its peers to feel accepted. When a playful wolf bites too hard, it will be spurned by the pack for bad behavior, and in order to return and be accepted again, the wolf must approach with an apology bow.

Dogs will do the same thing after it felt it is being punished. Lents wrote, “As social animals, they crave harmonious integration in the group and neglect or isolation is painful for them.”


Image source : theloudlaugh.com

A dog will do its apologetic bow regardless of whether it disobeyed or not, as long as it feels it is being punished. So the gesture is more of an apology rather than showing a feeling of guilt. Lents summarizes it as a dog’s way of saying, “Can we be friends again?”

Hi I’m Scott Jay Abraham. I’m an interior industrial designer. I like to travel to odd places and take photographs. I enjoy walking my dog Shadow. Visit my page to learn more about me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s