Do dogs actually smile?
The cutest creature: four paws, one tail, two ears, and two burning eyes, soft hair, someone who is constantly waiting for you, its life is yours, and everything belongs to you. Friendship passed through centuries, you decided to domesticate a dog. They accepted it. Within a long period, they proved their obedience, loyalty, and endless love.
You take it for a granted. But can you suggest the same? Are you as attentive as your dog is? Is it common for you to differentiate positive emotions from fear? The first answer from you would be very fast and confident, yes, but don’t be in a hurry, it is not as obvious as you used to think before.
Psychology demonstrates the importance of silent language not only among people but animals as well. The smallest hints and signs can show you a root, not a top. Sounds strange. But how many times your words and facial expression were contradicted? You will be surprised: the same happens with dogs. The dog’s brain is a complicated system with good memory, perception, consciousness, and emotions. They can feel the same, but signs of showing it are not so varied.
What does it mean when a dog smiles?
Imagine: late evening, cold wind, tired after work you open the door, enter the room, and smiling dog with open mouth, hanging tongue, shining eyes meet you. What can be better? This small friend has been waiting for you the whole day. But do dogs smile? Can a dog smile? Why do some dogs smile? Interesting and difficult questions at the same time.
Neurobiologists have worked with this issue and found out the dog’s brain works similarly as a human’s one. Miming is the way of showing their emotions. Dog’s smile exists and looks positive, warm, friendly. But due to the dog’s smile meaning, raised corners of the mouth, and hanging tongue, half-closed eyes can show happiness, bad mood, fear, and submission. What does it mean when a dog smiles? Let’s discuss it in detail. Your puppy can enjoy a trip, while you are driving a car and this smile demonstrates pleasure. Or when you feed your friend with a favorite treat, play, etc. But widely open mouth can be a signal of heat or bad mood too. In this case, this smile can be uptight and you can admit teeth’ knocking. The obeyed dog reveals a smile, but these raised corners have nothing to do with a real one. You can ask, so how to distinguish? Mind the position of the tail (down) and ears (tensed), the position (slump), eye contact (avoidance) is obeyed dog’s description.
Aggression can be combined with a smile, but the real intention would be negative. So be careful, mind the sounds (roaring, barking) and movements (sharp, tense). Knowing these details you can easily discern what this smile hides. And you have no difficulties to answer why does your dog smile.
Nature is the most sophisticated system, don’t underestimate it, read silent signs. Once in a while, it can be more eloquent than words.
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