What dogs really mean when they look guilty

You know the look of guilt your dog has whenever you catch them doing something naughty.

They cower a bit, get all doe-eyed and stick their tails between their legs.

Now we know what dogs actually mean when they look guilty, according to animal behaviorists.

It's meant to be an "apology bow," according to a new write-up in Psychology Today.

Dogs get it from their wolf relatives.

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Young wolves exhibit that same look as they learn what they can or can't get away with when they take playing too far, like some dogs.

It's a way for them to learn the pack's social rules.

If a wolf nips too hard, he'll be shunned by the group.

So, with his tail between his legs, he'll give an apology bow so he can get back on good terms with the pack.

But it's really more about submission than admitting they did anything wrong.

The guy who wrote the article says if a dog gives you that look, they're basically trying to say, "can we be friends again?"

That's because they're social animals and any kind of rejection is hard for them.

So the next time your dog does this, don't yell.

It's their way of apologizing.

Even though you'll be sorry you have to clean up the mess.