CAN dogs really SMILE?

Narrated from: General Info

This question has been plaguing the canine-loving community for quite a long time now.

Well, actually, it hasn’t – most dog lovers are pretty certain that their dogs do SMILE at them. On the other hand, most canine behavioral experts claim the opposite. So, what is the truth?

The wolfish point of view

Wolf behavior has been thoroughly examined for quite a while now. In their natural environment, wolves do smile at one another – but in wolfish body language, this gesture has a very different meaning!

A wolf will “smile” when he or she wants to express submission. Imagine a kid, who suddenly stumbles into a group of snorting bullies. The first reaction would often be to smile nervously and say something like “Hey, g-g-guys, what’s up?”

A nervous human smile can transmit the message “Hey, we’re all friends, aren’t we? Everything’s OK, right? I am not going to attack you, and you aren’t going to attack me – right???”

Basically, that’s what a wolf’s smile indicates – only it’s much more official, and a matter of rank within the pack.

The aggressive point of view

It is also believed that wolves and dogs smile threateningly.

With this smile the teeth are bared, and other body-language clues indicate hostility. This “smile” is a warning – the animal feels threatened, or highly irritated, and is preparing to attack.

The dog point of view

Finally, we need to delve into the complexity of the relationship between humans and dogs.

Dogs are no longer wolves. They have preserved many of the traits of their ancestors – but a millennial symbiosis with humanity has also changed many things.

Many dogs probably still smile at their owners in order to express submission. They view us as leader of the pack, so it’s only natural.

However, many dogs may have found out that when they smile, they receive hugs, belly rubs, treats and “Awwww, how cute!”–s. And, time and time again, dogs have proven that they are pretty good learners.

So, your dog may be smiling at you knowing that this will make you happy, and the sight of a happy human (with treats in hand) is one of the greatest joys in a dog’s life.

Think about it – isn’t one of the main reasons for smiling to make the ones around us happy?

If we have taught our dogs that – then we have taught them one of the cornerstones that define what it is to be human.

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