Scientists have discovered that dogs change their faces around us
Facial expressions are an important part of communication in many animal species – from showing aggression to attracting a mate – but it’s usually assumed that these are involuntary.
Researchers recently studied dogs to see whether domestication has changed anything about how they communicate. They filmed pet dogs when a person was a person was looking at them and when they were facing the other way, as well as when the dogs were offered food.
The differences in the expressions were measured, revealing the fact that dogs used more facial expressions like raising their eyebrows (to make their eyes look bigger) when they were being watched. The tests with the food showed that the dogs were actively changing their expressions around people, rather than just responding to excitement.
So it appears that thousands of years together have resulted in dogs attempting to communicate with humans using their faces. It also means that dogs know exactly what they’re doing when they give us puppy dog eyes.
Find out a bit more about the experiment in this video: