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Dog facial expression

Historically animal facial expressions have been considered inflexible, involuntary displays of emotional states rather than active attempts to communicate with others. However, a recent study by Kaminski et al. (2017) done with 24 dogs concluded that facial expressions are not inflexible but rather potentially active attempts to communicate. In the experiment dogs produced significantly more facial movements when the person was attentive than when they were not, for example the classic ‘sad puppy face’ was used to get treats from strangers when facing the person.

So next time you look at your dog, what is he/she really trying to tell you?


Kaminski J. et al. (2017). Dogs change facial expression when people pay attention, Scientific Reports (2017) 7, 12914, doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-12781-x

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