Why does my dog smile at me? Do dogs smile? What can I do to make my dog smile? If you are wondering about these questions, well, you are not alone! We usually marvel at how human our doggies can appear. They seem to reflect our behavior and display the same expressions and feelings, whether sad or happy. In fact, similar to us, having good oral health can make their grin naturally and effortlessly cheerful. Seeing the curve on your pet’s mouth may give you a question if dogs can actually smile for real? Keep reading to understand the four common dog smiles and what they mean.
Are Smiling Dogs Really Smiling?
Dog’s body language, such as sleeping with the tongue out, wagging his tail, or showing his teeth with a curve on his mouth, can make dog owners wonder what they mean.
For a long time, animal behaviorists generally concurred that animals were not smiling because they were encountering satisfaction or joy, yet instead because of a muscular reflex. Along these lines, the vast majority additionally believed that canines did not smile as a method of showing their feelings. However, that belief has been challenged.
Sometimes, we need to change our outlook slightly when we question whether or not a dog’s smile is genuine. For instance, if you watch a film and a person says something funny, you will probably crack a smile. However, this is different from your pet. If you see your dog smiling, this is not because they find the movie humorous. Instead, your dog is smiling because he is relaxed and calm. Because of that, most dog owners wonder if their pet is happy.
Four Kinds of Dog Smiles
Naturally, you want to keep your dog happy. Going running or doing fun exercise with your dog are some ideas to show up that smiling face. While your pet shares numerous human expressions, they do not really show them in the same ways. In any case, here are the four typical adult dog facial expressions that you may interpret as smiles.
The Relaxed Grin
According to a certified dog trainer, this expression shows contentedness that often incorporates squinted or soft eyes and lips that seem calm and relaxed instead of harshly pulled back. Since the dog is comfortable, their ears usually sit on the head, not pinned back against the skull.
Most of the time, a happy dog smile shows a gently wagging tail and a happy dance that may appear because of a play session or the arrival of a favorite human.
Generally, a relaxed grin occurs when your pet lays down to rest after playing. In that condition, the dogs’ bodies and minds are relaxed and free of stress, which appears in their soft facial look.
The Not-So-Relaxed Grin
In this expression, your dog may appear to be stress-related panting, not happy panting. The ears usually pull back firmly, and you will notice the pressure of the facial muscles around the corners of their mouth. Also, their eyes are wide with the whites appearing, an expression of stress frequently portrayed as whale-eyes.
The Submissive Grin
This facial expression is also known as the canine grimace. Canines use this look as an appeasement behavior when feeling uncomfortable. You will notice that dog’s ears pin back, their eyes widen in apprehensive anticipation, and they have a tensed body. Also, their lips tightly retract, uncovering a mouthful of pearly whites.
Though it might appear intimidating, the submissive grin is not similar to an aggressive growl. Nonetheless, it demonstrates the dog is feeling scared, so you should proceed carefully, mainly if it is a dog you do not know well.
The Learned Grin
Dogs have a high capacity to learn. Hence, what starts as a submissive grin can quickly become a new trick when supported with praise and treats.
Other Things About Dogs Smile
Most of the time, dog smiles can be very confounding for people who do not speak dog. Humans tend to extend their emotions onto them and construe their body language and behavior the same way a fellow human’s. This occurrence is called anthropomorphism.
Although anthropomorphism is usually harmless, it tends to be risky if a canine’s warning signs are not read correctly. For instance, a submissive grin could be a canine’s method of saying, “I am stressed, I do not like this, please stop.” If people do not interpret dogs’ warnings, some puppies might rise to fear biting.
Additionally, several dog smiles are joined with wagging tails. The tail is an exceptionally expressive limb regarding canine body language, and wagging does not generally demonstrate joy. This action could mean uncertainty, dread, or even an aggressive challenge depending on the tail tallness and swaying speed.
Ideas to Make Your Dog Happy
Here are some ten tips to keep your dog happy and healthy:
- Play with your dog daily
- Provide clean freshwater
- Maintain proper body weight
- Give adequate shelter
- Feed a high-quality pet food
- Supply clean, dry bedding
- Exercise your dog regularly
- Keep your dog under control at all times
- Take your dog to the vet at least once a year
- Give your dog a purpose
Though you may be speculating whether or not dogs really smile, we can now be able to know for sure that being content and relaxed may prompt a grin from your pet. So, pay attention to what causes your dog to feel the most joyful if you attempt to make that smile show up more often.
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