What it means when a dog "smiles" at you

Some dogs genuinely seem like they smile, so what's up with that? According to experts at the ASPCA, a dog's smile can be characterized as a display of the front teeth, normally paired with a lowered head, wagging tail, flattened ears, and a "soft body posture," or squinty eyes. While this expression could mean the dog feels happy around you, doghealth.com says it most likely means they are showing their submission to you. Specifically, it could indicate that they like you enough to give you full control over their well-being-- they like and trust you. The dog can also learn to smile from you, a phenomenon called laughter contagion. In most cases like this, experts say the smile is used to communicate that they consider you a companion. Though, you should still be careful, as a showing of teeth could also be a sign of aggression, especially when paired with an erect body and growl. 

 

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