Friday, August 2, 2013

Is your dog happy to see you?

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


  1. I don't need anyone to tell me if Titan is or not, when you get greeted by major wiggle butt, sloppy wet kisses, and a smile that lights up the room? Yes, he's happy to see me. :)

  2. Thanks for writing a post on this! I haven't read the study yet but was planning to this weekend. I love that there's been a surge in studies on dog language and behavior!

    It's definitely nice to know there are subtle signs to look out for but like Bren said, there are so many more conspicuous signs that definitely overpower the inconspicuous ones! But it is great to be able to communicate with our dogs better.

    1. Dog language and behavior fascinates me. It's exciting that people have begun studying it for real! I imagine a future where the dog carries a little translating device, LOL!

      I'm pretty sure one of my dogs would say, "Mom, mom, mommy, mommy, mom, mom, mom, cookie, cookie, hungry, cookie, cookie, food, hungry, cookie, mom, mom, mommy..." And so on. LOL!

  3. I'll have to pay attention to this. Both of their eyebrows are usually up, but I haven't really noticed too much - now I will :)

    1. I intended to look closer at my gang this weekend. That good intention was forgotten as soon as I stepped through the door and they all came to meet me. XD