Do you smile at your dog? I smile every time I see LJ.  LJ brings so much joy, love, laughter and light into my life its crazy.

I bet you all feel the same way. BUT when you smile at your dog do you show your teeth? I don’t and I won’t to any dog I see. I stopped a few years ago after attending a Dog Body Language course. So, what do I do instead? I smile with my mouth shut, with a gentle expression and keep my eyes soft – all non-threatening.

Why? Curling back the muzzle, and baring teeth is a reflex to a dog, based on certain situations and is generally used as a warning to back off, as the dog has been pushed out of their comfort zone.

So, grinning at your dog all teeth on display, lips pulled back – how do you think that looks to them?

Dogs will occasionally bare their teeth without aggression, accompanied by other calming behaviours like an averted gaze, lip licking and relaxed body – this is usually considered a submissive behaviour.

Some dogs can be TRAINED to ‘smile’ on cue, which is totally different. The important thing to remember is not to encourage aggressive or submissive behaviours as both can lead to an increase in anxiety and aggression. Then you won’t know when a smile is a smile or a warning. Remember Norm.

In terms of human interaction with dogs, I find it best to be respectful and try and communicate in a non-threatening way.

Smile but no teeth please, soften your gaze & facial expressions and begin your journey of communicating with your dog in a different more respectful way. However, it may take some practice.

Thanks for reading as always.


Lou xx

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This