When dogs smile, it can light up the whole room. This smile seems to be infectious, taking over everyone in sight of the cute doggy. You smile when you see a dog or even just a photo of a dog. You smile the most when you get to physically be with a dog. When dogs smile, they bring much-needed love, positivity, and happiness into your life.
But do dogs really smile or are we just projecting this onto them? And how are dogs able to bring so much joy into our lives?
Can Dogs Smile?
If you're a dog owner, you'll probably be pretty certain that your dog smiles. When you come home from work, when you throw a ball, and when they see some tasty-looking food, they definitely seem to break into a smile. Right?
What appears to be a dog's smile isn't quite the same as a human smile. They aren't grinning widely to express emotion but rather so they can pant during exciting moments. However, in some ways, this is a smile. That's because this facial expression occurs when your dog is happy, excited, or relaxed. So in that sense, yes, dogs smile because their face responds to happy emotions.
Furthermore, your dog will recognize your smile as happiness and will do their doggy smile in response. So not only does your dog make you smile but your happiness also makes them smile!
How Dogs Bring a Smile to your Face
Your dog's reaction to seeing you will probably be one of unbounded joy. Their best friend has returned home and dogs aren't shy about expressing their gratitude for this fact. Actually, at this point, a dog is using very clever psychology.
If you want people to like you, then a good trick is to get really excited every time you see them. Smile widely and, if appropriate, give them a friendly hug. That'll make them feel good about themselves and they'll associate that happy feeling with you! It's a kind of positive reinforcement. If you seem happy to see them, then they'll respond by being happier and they'll really take to you.
Does this psychological technique sound familiar? Dogs want you to like them so that you'll care for them and play with them. They achieve this by jumping around, wagging their tail, and smiling every time they see you. It's a clever trick but it works every time. A smile on their face brings a smile to yours.
The Happiness Effect of Owning a Dog
There is plenty of research to suggest that living with a dog boosts your overall life happiness. Part of the reason could simply be the extra exercise. Many dog owners experience the benefits of endorphins from exercise as well as the calming effects of being among nature. This lowers stress levels and improves well-being. There's also the possibility that dog owners receive more Vitamin D by being outside more.
However, there seems to be more to it than that. When dogs smile at their human, they're showing unconditional love which is sadly lacking among human companionship. No matter what you're going through in life your dog will stick by you. That means a lot. When you pet them, it releases oxytocin: the love chemical. Even without physical contact, when dogs smile this love chemical is released. A scientific research suggests that dog owners gazing into the eyes of their pup is enough to trigger a spike in oxytocin.
If you thought your dog was improving your life quality, then you're not wrong. Dog brings enormous amounts of love, positivity, and happiness into our lives. This is something humans need, which is why so many of us are drawn into becoming dog owners. Although what appears to be a smile may not be biologically identical to a human smile, it is a sign of a dog's happiness. Through seeing them happy, we are brought so much joy. This simple evolutionary response to seeing their owner makes a dog's smile one of the most profound and powerful phenomena in the universe.