Life & Travel > Purrfect pet health and beauty tips > How To Read Your Dog's Facial Expressions

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11/07/2012 23:42:44 PM by K.T.Riffic   Send Message to K.T.Riffic  2644  views, category: Pet pack life, Purrfect pet health and beauty tips view all blogs


Do dogs even make facial expressions? The answer is yes, dogs do make facial expressions. In fact, in many ways, their facial expressions are very similar to a human’s.

Your dog’s face can tell you a great deal about how they are feeling. For example, you may have noticed your dog’s ears perk up when you say a certain word, like walk or cookie.  

Here is a rundown on what to look for to tell what your dog is feeling.

Look into your dogs eyes, but not for too long. Making eye contact with a dog can be taken as a sign of aggression. When a dog locks eyes with another animal or human, you will notice their eyes are wide and unblinking. This intense stare is a signal of aggression and challenge. Between dogs, one might end up looking away, which signals submission. If neither dog looks away, a fight usually breaks out.

-Wide, unblinking eyes means the dog is tense.
-If you can see the whites of a dog’s eyes, it could be a sign of extreme anxiety or fear
-Squinting eyes means the dog is happy and relaxed

If a dog’s ears are perked up, it means the dog is paying attention, is on guard, or is feeling playful.

If the ears are up and forward, the dog is probably listening for a something.

If a dog’s ears are down or back, it means the dog is feeling fear, tension, anxiety, stress, or is submitting.

Have you ever noticed your dog licking her lips with short, quick licks? She may lick the air as well. If this is happening and your dog has not had something tasty to eat, it is probably a sign of fear or being uncomfortable in a new situation.

A dog that starts to drool profusely and is not around food, may be showing signs of extreme fear or aggression.

The corners of a dog’s mouth are an important area to watch. You have to look and know what you are looking at in order to interpret this area, known as the commissures.

A tense dog will push the commissures forward, a frightened dog will pull them back.

All together
A dog’s facial expressions can tell you a lot about how a dog is feeling, but it is important to look at the entire body language to get a complete picture. A dog’s tail, for example, can help you figure out if the dog is nervous or excited.

About the author: Kayleigh has always loved animals and has spent time volunteering at the local dog shelter. The love of her life is her four year old Rottweiler, Lizzie. She enjoys writing for since it combines her love of animals with one of her favor... more >>

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