What's Behind a Dog's Expressions?

Bulldog in child's swing

Some scientists believe that animals don’t think and have emotions like humans do. But for those of you who have seen all the facial expressions of puppers, woofers, or regular doggos, it’s hard to believe they’re not feeling something. Here are some of the best pupper facial expressions that feel like doggos are emoting.

Smiley Doggo


Smiling for a dog, with or without teeth, can often be accompanied by some waggles. Do you have some yummy smelling noms, are you about to give scritches, or did you mention anything about a W-A-L-K? You can also trigger your dog’s emotional senses and mirroring ability by talking in a happy tone or smiling at them. Sometimes when a doggo is chill and just happy to be there, their body will relax, including their face, which will open the mouth making the corners turn upward to a smile. It’s hard to study to see what makes a doggo seem happy, but some places are starting to say that animals are able to be as happy as humans can. Just remember, if this doggo does not belong to you, always ask the owner before you touch. Happy looking dogs with waggly tails may not always be truly happy. Sometimes dogs are waggling their tails to express fear, insecurity, or a number of other emotions. Keep you and the doggo save before you approach dogs you don’t know.

Shocked Doggo


Some eyes go so wide you can see the whites around them. Is there something new, strange, or confusing to them? It’s important to recognize different signs of confusion in their body language. Some signs include tilting of the head, barking, panting, ears plastered back, and other unusual behaviors are good signs to look out for. A shocked or confused doggo could also be mistaken for a scared boy. If you or something else gave your doggo a frighten, give them some loves and help them calm down.


Shame Doggo


Watching videos of regretful doggo faces is one of the best ways to warm your heart. No matter what they chewed up or ate without permission, you can’t stop your melting heart at such a sweet sad face. Now unlike happiness which is a simple emotion, it is said shame is more of a complex emotion unique to humans. Science says that this shame response is more about submission to reduce conflict and we can see that point. But does it matter the dog is or isn’t experiencing the shame we express as humans? They’re feeling something, or reacting to something and we will still continue to enjoy the videos and posts of the toilet paper massacres and shoe devourers.


Dogs are some of the smartest animals with facial recognition abilities and an acute knowledge of who they belong to. Some people strongly advocate that all animals have feelings while others push for the opposite. While this area is muddled, we shouldn’t get too caught up in it. We’re lucky to have doggos, puppers, woofers, and floofers! Their beautiful smiles, perfect cuddle timing, and endless need for scritches are some of the many things we love about them. Let’s just focus on loving, enjoying, and protecting dogs as they do for us.


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Feature Photo by Marion Michele on Unsplash


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