Top 50 Blogger

Become a Fan


  • Con Slobodchikoff, Ph.D.
    Slobodchikoff is President and CEO of Animal Communications, Ltd., specializing in pet behavior problems and in educating people about the behavior of animals.

« Dogs Assess Reputations | Main | Turning A Dog’s Behavior Into A Trick »

April 01, 2011


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Funny, but I also communicate with my pets (cats and dogs). I really believe that these domestic animals can understand people, not verbally, but via nonverbal communication. I'm sure it's true that when you're smiling, your dog would most likely smile as well.


My German Shorthaired Pointer smiles with teeth. Yes, it is a smile because her attitude is soooo different than when is warning with baring teeth. She only "smiles" when we come home after hours of being gone and for me when I'm ready to feed her. Her body is wagging (not just her tail) and her head lowers with the top teeth bearing. Her tail is wagging out of control and her eyes are almost shut. When she's angry, the tail does not move, the eyes are wide open, and she is completely (almost) still.

It's so cute to see it, but I can't capture it on video. I just don't know if it's her or in the breed. I do love it though. :)


Even my bulldog, with his saggy, baggy face and apparently not noted very highly for intelligence, smiles at me. I love seeing his upturned face and big grin when I come home from work. He also smiles at other people he loves, when they come through the door, but woe betide strangers entering, which does demonstrate that not only does he recognise different people, he can tell their facial expression too. He is very susceptible to moods and will come and cuddle me if I am low or upset, I therefore wonder whether obedience is a real sign of intelligence? He is very headstrong and will not always obey commands but surely emotional intelligence is perhaps something to consider?


there has been a research study made in germany by dr. Dorit Fedderson-Peterson about smiling dogs. my dog and i participated in this study. when he is happy he will be showing all his teeth, wrinkle his nose and lick quickly over the nose, this will be show in a fast frequence. DOGS DO SMILE!

dog health problems

Nice experiment! In my opinion dogs will respond with your voice, face and also your movement. When I jogging in the morning my dog will run too.

Thank you for good information.


I have always wondered if I should smile at my dog. I worried it might actually scare him. This is such a great article, shedding light on a subject I have always wondered about. Glad I am not the only one! :-)


I love this article! I believe dogs are definitely smart enough to pick up on our moods... including smiling! My dog is happier when I am happy. Another thing that helped me was using this Charlotte Dog Training company. If anyone in the southeast is having dog problems I would recommend the Dog Wizard!


I'm not surprised, in fact, I'm almost like "duh" because dogs are masters of body language. That makes it no surprise to me that a dog can tell one person's smile from another.

There's probably other factors involved too like scent, overall look of the face (like Wally could probably tell me from a bunch of light-skinned people just by the color of my skin), and probably subtle things we aren't aware that we even give off.

It's great to have scientific validation, but it's more a cause of confirming what I already know/believe instead of a new discovery for me :)

dog agility training

First of all let me say that this is a Great write up and I appreciate your work. Frankly speaking I didn't needed any Animal Cognition report to prove that dogs can actually recognize their pet owners smile. I own a 3 years old labrador who has been very responsive to me looking at the expressions that I have on my face. He certainly understand what I am trying to express and he feels the same way. Although it will be rude of me not to appreciate the work dome by the community. Thank for the post! Anna Taylor

The comments to this entry are closed.

FREE Report, 10 Secrets of Dog Body Language

Chasing Doctor Dolittle: Learning the Language of Animals