In case you’re among the dog lovers who’s never had the pleasure of owning a smiling dog, some canines actually “smile!” It’s a bit like showing teeth, except the pet’s body language is very relaxed and submissive.
Dog smiling is actually reserved exclusively for humans; it’s not a behavior that’s ever exhibited to other dogs. This fact has led many behavior experts to believe that it’s literally a dog’s attempt to mimic a human’s smile!
Dogs who smile do so as an act of submission. The canine smile is often paired with “bowing” the front portion of the body, rolling over and showing the belly, along with averting the eyes/looking at you out of the corner of their eyes – very different from the intense stare, tenseness and stillness that’s associated with truly “showing teeth.”
Dog smiling is an act of submission, designed to elicit a friendly or loving response from you, the human. Some dogs smile as an attempt to “soften” you when they feel like they’re in trouble or when they suspect that you’re tense or upset. The most submissive dogs will smile simply because they want your attention!
So next time you see your dog smiling, you’ll know exactly what this behavior means!