Canine Corner

The human-animal bond

Can Humans Really Interpret the Facial Expressions of Dogs?

New research shows that although humans can read the facial expressions of dogs and link them to their emotional states to some extent, our accuracy is best for only a few basic emotions. Read More

My first question when I started reading

was "why would you try to read only the face?" :-)
Dogs, like humans, speak with the whole body. Dogs have limited ability with facial expressions, but humans have been taught to deceive with facial expressions, so in both cases, it's best to read the whole critter if you can. Horses also have limited ability with facial expressions, and they can kill you if you get it wrong.

The very study is incredibly

The very study is incredibly flawed, anthropomorphizing dogs by attributing human emotions to them.

I guess that's what I'd expect from a human behavior expert, not a dog behavior expert, who still continues to write about dogs trying to dominate humans at every turn.

I agree with one of the above

I agree with one of the above comments that the method sounds questionable although my qualification is in computing.

In my opinion, shouldn't the conclusion being the volunteers' assessment of the dog emotion is consistent with researchers's assessment. There is nothing certain about the dog's true emotions in the study?

emotions in dogs

I found it odd that the response to a "jack in the box" was used to gauge surprise. I'd call that a startle and startling is a fight/flight response, therefore I would expect it to look like fear.

Surprise is always going to be colored by whether or not the subject considers it a positive, negative, or neutral event. Assuming the photo was taken at the moment of the startle, I cannot imagine that any dog (or person for matter) wouldn't show fear until their made a decision about what it was. I bet a two year old would also show fear - which might (or might not) turn to delight in a few seconds.

As far as whether dogs show emotions.....yep; I'm quite sure they do. In the same way that I believe babies show emotions, even before they are old enough to articulate them. The inability to talk does not mean the emotions do not exist.

I also agree with the person who pointed out that we read much more than facial expressions - we read the whole animal. True with humans too, but to a lesser degree.

Dogs Language

You can see that a dog can be very communicative, barking, yelping, cooling because when his cooling with his tongue stick out very much could be possibly stressed out , his tail it's the most important and his fur how his/she muscle contracts and how the fur stays up or down ! They are great they are wonderful and they express allot of feelings diffidently

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Stanley Coren, Ph.D., F.R.S.C., is a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia.


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