For years, scientists have questioned the canines’ abilities to experience emotions. But, according to Dr. Nicholas Dodman, (head of animal behavior at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University) dogs do smile and don’t just experience emotions; they communicate them as well.
In his research, Dodman concluded that dogs do smile and they have different types of smuiles, and even have a sense of humor! This expression of humor ranges from huff-like laughs to smiles.
In one study conducted in 2005 at the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service, these huff-like laughs were shown to have calming effects on shelter dogs. Researchers also noted that these canine vocalizations showed a diffusion of stress-induced behaviors and aggressions in dogs.
Dodman also identified a variety of canine smiles. One example is when the lips horizontally retract into a “submissive smile.” This smile signals that the dog is non-threatening. It’s also an expression used to disarm possible aggression, similar to the human smile.
This study may not be news to most dog owners, but it is proof that our canine companions are capable of having feelings. And this is more than what scientists have asserted before, regarding our beloved four-legged friends.