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(19,222 posts)
Thu Oct 8, 2020, 12:04 PM Oct 2020

Science Proves a Harsh Truth About Very Good Dogs.

This answers the age old question about who is training who.

You know how your heart melts whenever a pup raises its eyebrows? That’s no accident. While research on non-human animals has long suggested that facial expressions are involuntary, it turns out dogs may be different, and like humans, able to control their facial expressions to get what they want. Are you really surprised?

In a 2017 study published in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers tested whether dogs illustrated the “audience effect.” They found that dogs reacted with more noticeable facial expressions when humans were around than when there were no humans around, suggesting that dogs use facial expressions to voluntarily communicate.

A team of researchers at the University of Portsmouth Dog Cognition Centre devised an experiment to investigate whether dogs’ facial expressions are subject to audience effects, which simply means that they wanted to see whether dogs made different faces when they thought they weren’t being watched. This would suggest that they’re voluntarily controlling their facial expressions, changing what we know about animal behavior.

The alternative, that dogs are simply making involuntary faces that express their excitement, sadness, or anger, has been the standard view.


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Science Proves a Harsh Truth About Very Good Dogs. (Original Post) SergeStorms Oct 2020 OP
Children learn what certain facial expressions mean Doreen Oct 2020 #1
I am perfectly happy MuseRider Oct 2020 #2
I have to agree with you there. SergeStorms Oct 2020 #3
We dont deserve dogs but Im happy for their companionship. Thyla Oct 2020 #4
Not better, just different. I love them both. The Velveteen Ocelot Oct 2020 #7
Dogs absolutely have human-like facial expressions. Buckeye_Democrat Oct 2020 #5
Cats do the same thing in different ways. The Velveteen Ocelot Oct 2020 #6
For a time there used to be a cat that came to visit my cat lunatica Oct 2020 #9
I'm not an animal behaviorist and I don't play one on TV. The Velveteen Ocelot Oct 2020 #10
animals communicate with body language GummyBearsRYummy Oct 2020 #8


(11,686 posts)
1. Children learn what certain facial expressions mean
Thu Oct 8, 2020, 12:15 PM
Oct 2020

and start using them. Why wouldn't a pet do the same thing? They are not capable of making the expressions just like ours but pretty close. Cats do the same thing.


(34,264 posts)
2. I am perfectly happy
Thu Oct 8, 2020, 12:28 PM
Oct 2020

being controlled by my dogs cute faces. After all, I have always thought that dogs were better than most humans anyway.


(14,907 posts)
5. Dogs absolutely have human-like facial expressions.
Thu Oct 8, 2020, 02:11 PM
Oct 2020

Saw it all the time with my family's dogs in the past.

And they're very attentive to our expressions too.

The Velveteen Ocelot

(117,440 posts)
6. Cats do the same thing in different ways.
Thu Oct 8, 2020, 02:56 PM
Oct 2020

They don't have "eyebrow' muscles like dogs so they can't do the sad-puppy expression, but they have learned to combine a purr with a whine when they want attention or food. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2009/07/cats-behavior-communication-purr-animals/#:~:text=When%20they're%20hungry%2C%20some,swept%20aside%2C%22%20McComb%20said.

They also only meow to people, not to other cats. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/all-dogs-go-heaven/201809/why-do-cats-meow-humans

Our pets are definitely manipulating us.


(53,410 posts)
9. For a time there used to be a cat that came to visit my cat
Fri Oct 9, 2020, 02:32 AM
Oct 2020

and he would meow softly at the windows or the patio door. My cat would hear him no matter where he was and come running.

And we’ve all heard them when they yowl at each before they have a fight or when one feels trapped by the other.

Kittens meow when they’re small and haven’t opened their eyes yet and their mother calls to them with soft meows so they turn to her.

I don’t know why they say cats meow only to humans. It’s simply not true.

8. animals communicate with body language
Fri Oct 9, 2020, 12:42 AM
Oct 2020

i have always thought this. we don't know if the communication is automatic or voluntary. it could be both at different times.

observing them isn't really proof because they are less likely to be excited without interaction.

people who have had a dog that comes up to them and puts their paw on them and tilts their head; probably most of these people will assume the dog is trying to communicate something.

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