Friday, March 22, 2013

It is proven; we can read dogs' facial expressions.

Merlin, looking attentive and
interested. He is a sunshine story
in himself; saved from a shelter
in the nick of time, he now
works with search and rescue!
To a pet lover, being able to read the furry friend's facial expressions seems self evident. Of course we can see if they're happy, sad, bored, guilty, or angry, right? 

It might not be as clear to people who don't have the fortune of knowing a pet. Some people say animals always have the same facial expression. I personally disagree.

Going off on a tangent, I ran into a discussion the other day where I said, "The camel looks content." (I know, camels isn't the most common subject.)

The person I was talking to said, "How do you know if a camel looks content?"

Good question. I scratched my head and tried to explain. It's difficult to put a finger on how you know. How do you know when a human looks happy, sad, guilty, or content? It's the same thing; small facial movements, posture, eyes...

According to the British newspaper the Daily Mail, scientists have now proven that humans have evolved to be able to identify animal emotions. Humans and dogs have evolved side by side for 100,000 years, and we have learned to understand each other along the way.

The study was performed by Dr Bloom and Professsor Harris Friedman from Walden University in Minneapolis. In the study, a number of photos were shown to 50 volunteers. 88 percent easily identified happiness, and 70 percent identified anger. Funny enough, people with little or no experience with dogs were better at seeing negative emotions.

Click here to read the article in the Daily Mail, and to see some of the photos used in the study.


  1. I know mom can read my expressions, usually they make her laugh, though!

    1. That's because you're a funny and talented girl, Emma. =)