Constantly fascinated by dogs and their mannerisms, I can’t help but wonder what they’re thinking about at any given moment of time. Like what is my dog really thinking about when he stares at me unblinkingly. When I come home from a long day of work, is he genuinely happy to see me? Or is he just like, “Hooray! Dinner soon!”
These are the things I think about, and as dog people, such thoughts have probably crossed your minds. Despair no more for I come bearing answers!
In a 2013 study published in the Behavioral Processes Journal, animal behavior experts at Azabu University in Japan found that dogs’ facial expressions reveal a lot more about canine emotion than we previously thought.
According to Richard Gray, science correspondent at the Telegraph, researchers found that dogs presented with their owners tended to move their left eyebrow upwards. HOWEVER, when they were introduced to a stranger, the dogs moved their left ear back a bit. On the other hand, when dogs were presented with unpleasant stimuli like nail clippers, they moved their right ear instead.
Dogs use their ears to express emotions. Thus, when presented with unfamiliar or unpleasant stimuli, their ears gave away how they were truly feeling. On the other hand, when they were presented with their owners, their eyebrows moved. Scientists found this signifies that the dogs were trying to stare more intently at their owner due to the bond shared between the person and the pup.
While the study doesn’t definitely prove that dogs have emotions, it sheds enough light to help ease our minds about whether our pooches are truly excited to see us or not!
You can read the study in detail over at the Telegraph.