When your dog opens their mouth and pulls back its lips, it can appear to be a smile. According to Purina, this is a sign that your dog is happy and relaxed. Dogs use certain physical gestures in order to communicate. Their tails, for example, can let others know whether the dog is happy, aggressive, or anxious.
The same goes for their smile. Some believe that dogs developed this behavior over the course of several centuries as a way to mimic their owner’s smile. Others believe dogs have always smiled because it tells other dogs that they’re happy.
If you notice that your dog’s mouth is open and exposing its tongue in a relaxed manner, then the dog is telling you that it’s comfortable.
If the smile is joined with a serious of forced pants, then this can also indicate that the dog is feeling playful. Some even consider this sound to be a dog laughing. The sound indicates to other dogs that they want to play.
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Do Dogs Know They’re Smiling?
Dogs don’t know they’re smiling in the sense that it is a smile. They wouldn’t think of it as a smile. Rather, they see it as a communication device. It tells others that they’re feeling good and relaxed.
However, it may be done on the unconscious unlevel as well. Humans don’t think much about smiling. It just happens as a natural response to something that pleases us. The same could be said of dogs. They relax their lips and open their mouths naturally when they’re happy or pleased.
Some researchers even think that the dog may smile because they’re copying their owner. If an owner smiles down at them and acts happy, then the dog may respond in kind with a smile of their own.
What Are Signs That Your Dog Is Happy?
There are several signs that your dog is happy. Some of them include:
* Wagging tail
* Forced panting or exhaling
* Relaxed pose
* Playful pose
* Sleeping with back against you
One of the easiest signs to determine if a dog is happy is its tail. A wagging tail indicates that the dog is happy and pleased. If the tail is still, but in its normal position, then it means the dog is relaxed. The faster that the tail wags, the more excited the dog is.
Sometimes while you play with your dog, you may hear it give a sharp exhale or panting. This sound doesn’t always mean that your dog is just catching their breath. It could mean that the dog is laughing or showing excitement and eagerness. It usually occurs during play or as a sign that the dog wants to play.
Smiling dogs are happy dogs. If your dog gives you that cute dog smile, then you can be sure they’re feeling happy.
If you’ve ever seen your dog lower their front half to the ground, then this is a sign that they want to play. They may even paw at you in order to indicate that they want to play with you. These are also signs that they’re happy and relaxed in your presence. They’re seeking attention and playtime with you to become even happier.
One other way to determine if your dog is happy is whether or not they sleep next to you. A dog that takes a nap with its back against you means that it trusts you considerably. It recognizes you as a member of its pack. It will defend you and also trust you to defend it. Only happy dogs sleep with their owners in this manner.
Finally, you can tell your dog is happy if it licks you. Licking is something a dog picks up from its mother. While they’re with the rest of their litter, the mother will lick its pups clean. This helps keep them healthy and also shows affection. Dogs may lick their owners to show care and love for them. Sometimes it’s also expressed as joy. Your dog is so excited about something that they can only express it by licking you all over your face.
Should You Smile At A Dog?
If a dog gives you a smile, then your first instinct may be to smile back. However, that isn’t always the best decision. A smile can quickly turn into bared teeth. A dog recognizes bared teeth as an aggressive sign. For dogs that don’t know you, if you smile at them, then they may take it as you being aggressive towards them.
This is especially true of strays or dogs that aren’t familiar with humans. They’re not used to what human smiles mean.
If you do know the dog and the dog knows you, then it’s a great idea to smile at them. Dogs have picked up that smiles mean good things. Trainers can use smiles to reinforce good behavior. They just also need to make sure they don’t smile when a dog makes a mistake.
Pet owners can make their dogs feel more loved by smiling at them. It can be a way to show them affection. You’ll likely receive dog smiles back.
Dogs have also learned what a human happy face and a human angry face means. If you’re training your dog at home and you want to use positive reinforcement, then you should always add a smile when you praise your dog. They’ll know what it means.
Smiling at your dog may also make them approach you quickly. Because they’re able to recognize angry or grumpy faces, they’ll steer clear of you. Putting on a smile will help them relax and encourage them to come to you.
It can also make your dog feel good. According to K9 Magazine, smiling at your dog releases the hormone known as oxytocin. This is a hormone that triggers feelings of emotional warmth and love. When you smile at your dog, the dog receives an explosion of oxytocin. You’re literally making them feel good and loved. You may receive a pleasant dose of oxytocin, too.