New study reveals that pet dogs communicate with their owners with special facial expressions when their owners stare at them, not only due to excitement of possibility of food. Co-author Juliane Kaminski of the University of Portsmouth during the study said that, “We can now be confident that the production of facial expressions made by dogs are dependent on the attention state of their audience and are not just a result of dogs being excited”. this demonstrate that dogs seek human’s attention and communicate with them through facial expressions.
Scientists generally assume that these facial expressions are involuntary twitches rather than emotions and many more studies also reveal that animals are capable of producing facial expressions. We also know that too. When a family dog looks exactly like smiling, we know that that’s just what happens when a dopey dog face pants after a good run.
Experts have built the case that domesticated animals actually use facial expressions to communicate with their owners. Researchers have catalogued facial expressions in macaques, dogs and horses using FACS. Human possesses 27 different facial expressions, chimpanzees have 13, horses have 17 and dogs have 16 (excluding bad dogs). One research also indicated that horses can respond to angry human faces differently than happy faces. Study concluded that dogs do smile at us. A study also found that dogs can be trained to judge human facial expressions even when presented with a single smile. Another study revealed that dogs engage in social gazing behaviors like human.
Till now no evidence could be found proving dogs routinely make their own facial expressions in response to humans. Kaminski therefore filmed 24 family dogs of various breeds to see how each dog’s face responded as its owners faced it. Each dog expression was then coded with a modified dog version of FACS. They came at the conclusion that dogs produced more facial expressions when their owners were facing them than when food entered the picture. Kaminski said. “We now know dogs make more facial expressions when the human is paying attention.”