I've never doubted that my dogs are happy to see me; each time I return to the house they rush towards the door and bounce on me with wagging tails. I might be mistaken of course, but I interpret that as "Hi mom! We've missed you, we're so glad you're home!"
Dogs are individuals, and some might not express themselves as clearly as my pack of extroverted Border Collies. A group of animal behavior specialists at Azabu University in Sagamihara, Japan, have studied facial expressions of dogs, hoping to chart the way dogs show emotion.
The idea is to track subtle signals. A dog parent might know their pooches inside out and be able to read them, but if there is a generic body language of dogs, everyone might benefit from understanding it.
According to the Atlantic Wire, the dogs in the study tended to move their right ear when presented with an object or person they didn't like.
When seeing a person they liked, the dogs lifted their left eyebrow. Interestingly, toys or food did not elicit this response. Only people.
I'm sure my dogs sometimes move their right ear and lift the left eyebrow at the same time. Not to mention moving the right ear while storming to the door to say welcome home. In order to really read dogs, we need to take the entire body language into account. However, even if the study isn't conclusive or finished, the fact that someone is attempting to study dogs' way of communication warms my heart.
~ Maria Sadowski