How Dogs Communicate With Us & Read Our Emotions

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How Dogs Communicate With Us & Read Our Emotions

Post by Vita

I ran across this video a few months ago and thought it quite funny but also intriguing.



And this is a no-miss: Man's best selfie friend! Owners share hilarious 'twinning' selfies with their lookalike dogs - and one pooch has even mastered the art of pouting (link)


Tonight I reviewed several articles and videos on how dogs communicate with us.  It turns out that dogs change their facial expressions when humans are looking at them. 1

Scientists have discovered that dogs produce more facial movements when a human is paying attention to them – including raising their eyebrows, making their eyes appear bigger – than when they are being ignored or presented with a tasty morsel.  But the presence of food had no impact on the animals’ expressions. 2

“We wanted to see if dogs would produce the most facial expressions when they saw the face and the food, because that might then tell us they are trying to intentionally manipulate the human in order to get the food – and we didn’t see that.” 2

The studies suggested doggy expressions were not simply the result of internal emotions, but could be a mechanism of communication.

When dogs were being watched they often raised their eyebrows in a particular way. This eyebrow raise is known to give shelter dogs a better chance of being rehomed. It may make the dogs’ eyes look “sad” or infant-like, creating an empathetic response. 3

As this next video will show, humans are very strongly biased toward looking first at the right side of someone's face; it's thought that emotions are more true accurate on the right than the left. Eye-tracking software was used for dogs to see if they have this bias too toward humans.  They do.  However, they don't do this when looking at other dogs; they read emotions and communicate differently with their fellow canines, and use their sense of smell and body language.  




That dogs can smell our fear is not a myth.  A study suggests humans can inadvertently hijack their dogs’ emotions by releasing smells. A second study suggests dogs can return the favour, using their expressive faces.3

What are your experiences with your dog?

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1 Dogs Are More Expressive When We're Looking At Them (link)
2 Dogs have pet facial expressions to use on humans, study finds (link)
3 Dogs really can smell your fear, and then they get scared too (link)
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Vita
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My dog: : Bella
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