It’s no secret that our dogs have some sort of power over us. We know, you feed them and take them out, but when you get hit with those loveable puppy dog eyes, your heart just starts to melt. And then they just get whatever they want. We totally get it. But a new study shows that the facial expressions we see from our dogs might actually be reserved just for humans. In other words, your dog knows exactly how to play you and will do just about anything for treats.
Read also: “Who Interprets Dog’s Facial Expressions Better?“
In a study published in Scientific Reports, it was found that human attention affected facial expressions in dogs. The experiment involved 24 family dogs, 13 male and 11 female of varying breeds and ages, ranging from just one year old to twelve. The dogs were randomly selected and were placed in a room with their owners. In the first trial, owners would stand facing their dogs. Then, their owner would face the other direction, with their back towards the dog. The third trial had the owner facing the dog and making eye contact, and the last trial involved the owner facing the dog but not making eye contact. They also had trials that involved the presence of treats, but found that having treats in the room did not affect their facial expressions.
The study found that dogs produced many more facial expressions (measured by brow raising and having their tongues out) when humans were oriented towards them. When the humans had their backs to the dogs, they produced far less facial expressions. The study went even further in its investigation and found that when a human was looking at the dog and making eye contact, the pup would try harder to communicate rather than when the human was looking away. Your doggo knows when you’re paying attention to them, and will respond in an attempt to communicate.
What is most interesting about this particular study is that dogs don’t usually emote this much when they are around other dogs. These facial expressions are reserved only for communication with humans– like they have their own language just for us. They know exactly when to cock their head to one side and open up their eyes so that you’ll cave and give them the last scrap off of the dinner table.
Although science still hasn’t answered why the dogs do this, we’re pretty sure that it’s because they know exactly what those adorable puppy dog eyes will get them. Treats, food, and long walks outside. No matter how quietly you are when you open a pack of chips, as soon as it’s open, it’s like your dogs have a 6th sense and they’re suddenly sitting next to you, tail wagging, mouth open. Maybe one day we’ll figure out how to resist those puppy dog eyes!
What do you think of this study? Does your dog pull out the puppy eyes when he or she wants something? Share your story below because we love hearing from our readers! And don’t forget to subscribe to our Digital Doggy newsletter to get great news like this delivered right to your inbox.