What Does Your Dog’s Facial Expression Mean?

Feb 22, 2022 | Pet Health, Pets

Happy Wednesday everyone!  What does your dog’s facial expression mean?  Maggie has a smile that lights up the world while Jake is more serious.  The trait that both of them share is that their eyes sparkle which tells me they are happy.  The corners of Jake’s mouth will curl upwards in a smile when his ears are being scratched.  He presses against my hand telling me he wants more!  This blog talks about the many facial expressions of a dog and what they mean but it also goes for all animals.  I once had a horse named Sparky who LOVED apples.   He would gallop towards me when I was eating an apple, pause, bite the other side of the apple and then give me a big teethy smile!

Maggie's Smile

Maggie loves playing ball.  This is what I get when I say “ball” 🙂

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Dogs do not have to understand every spoken word to get the gist of a conversation, especially since only 10% of what humans communicate is actually verbal. Non-verbal posture, gestures, body carriage, and facial expressions communicate 90% of what we have to say, so our dogs have learned to monitor these physical actions very closely.

Jake's way of telling me he is hungry!

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All animals possess an innate ability to communicate with their own species, the doggie behavioral experts at Wag, a dog-walking and information site, tell Reader’s Digest. But over the course of thousands of years spent with humans, dogs have acquired the ability to communicate with humans in a way that humans understand and encourage. That’s why one facial expression can mean two different things, depending on whether your dog is interacting with you or another dog. Here’s what your dog’s adorable face is trying to tell you.

Jake likes a day of relaxation 🙂

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That soulful gaze

A perfect example of the dichotomy between dog-to-dog versus dog-to-human facial expression is eye contact. Between dogs, eye contact signals aggression.  Between humans, eye contact is an integral part of communication. Humans reward eye contact from humans as well as dogs. 

 

Blinking or squinting during eye contact

If a dog blinks while making eye contact with you, he may be contemplating what you’re thinking.

 
Squinting can signal pain or illness. Rapid blinking can indicate stress or fear. And when a dog opens his eyes wide at another dog, it can signal aggression.
 

Eyebrow-raising

When your dog raises one eyebrow or both while making eye contact, it’s a sign of alertness and interest, says Schoeff. Here’s an opportunity for you to engage with your pup, maybe teach him a new trick.

 

Yawning When Not Tired

If your dog is well-rested and still yawning, it’s a sure sign that your pup is stressed.

 

Smiling

This position usually indicates happiness, but it can also serve as a warning if your pup is really showing its teeth. When a smile becomes a snarl, it can be a warning to anyone or anything around that your dog is showing off its weapons.

Jake And Maggie's expressions

Brother and sister, two totally different personalities!  Wearing their new bows from The Pampered Pooches!  Instagram @thepamperedpooches. Use code “2labs” for 10% off your order!

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For more pet related health posts, scroll down for more of my previous blogs.  Comment below and let me know the sweet expressions your pet makes!  I would love to hear all about them!  Stay tuned for Friday’s post. I’ve got a fun pet recipe for our furry friends coming up!
 
 
References:
 
 

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