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Puppy dog eyes - the science bit

Discussion in 'Dog Behaviour and Training' started by JoanneF, Jun 18, 2019.

  1. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    The BBC Breakfast Show has been running a story about cute puppy dog eyes this morning. This article from National Geographic explains that over millennia, dogs have developed a muscle around the eyes, which never developed in wolves. Researchers believe this was for the purpose of supporting human/canine communication.

    ‘Puppy dog eyes’ evolved so dogs could communicate with us
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
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  3. Dibbythedog

    Dibbythedog Active Member Registered

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    I dont think this is a new story although the research is. .
    Do dogs deliberately give "puppy eyes " or is it unconscious.
    I worried people will think "whale eye" is puppy eye .
    They were showing photos of dogs that viewers had sent in on the TV sh owing their dogs puppy eye and one puppy was whale eyeing and he look scared.
     
  4. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    Not only do dogs' faces seem to show emotion in the same way that humans' do, the vocalisations of some of the more 'conversational' types of dogs do too... from the pitiful 'I'm starving, I've no strength left to whine properly' whimper when they're watching you eat to the 'Humph' when they realise that there's no more food/play to be had so they might just as well lie on their beds and the 'HELP!' when a bit of kibble has rolled under the sofa. I don't see any reason not to believe that the underlying mental activity is pretty much the same as in humans and that they are no more deliberate than they are most of the time in humans.
     
  5. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    Yes, even our out of hours vet leaflet shows a picture that I am sure they think is cute, but which we all interpreted quite differently

    Body Language

    Not sure about the noises we all make but the article implied to me that the eye shape was based on intentional attempts to communicate - did you read it as a more subconscious thing?
     
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  6. merlina

    merlina Well-Known Member Registered

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    A geneticist friend says it isn't humans but domestic dogs are the most successful species on earth. They get another species (us) to feed them and raise their children. Usually we offer shelter and security. And we thank them and adore them for letting us do it.

    As I do every day of my life.:p
     
  7. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    Love it!
     
  8. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    I think it's difficult to judge the level of intent even in humans. If I'm pleading with someone, my face will reflect that whether I change my expression intentionally or not. I can deliberately put on a pleading face, and I can ham it up, tilting my head to one side, but it can happen subconsciously as well. If I put on my 'angry face' because OH has annoyed me, is this a deliberate attempt to communicate or not? What about crying or other expressions in babies or toddlers?

    I can't imagine that a dog is thinking, 'I know, I'll put on my pleading face.' Yes, he is trying to communicate, just as he is when he barks for attention or paws your leg, but I think the facial expression is probably a direct result of him trying to communicate 'Pleeeeeeeeeease' - it 'just happens'. But until we know clearly what we mean by 'deliberate', 'conscious', and so on, and can apply it to humans, then I think we'll struggle to get parallel answers for other species.

    Though I do think that the similarity of a dog's body language & facial expressions to humans means that they evolved as a result of their interaction with humans. Does a dog who wants something another dog has ever use the same expression? What about primates?
     
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  9. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    It's interesting, isn't it. On a slightly different but related topic, Amy Cuddy has a fabulous TED Talk on body language. We know that our feelings are expressed in our body language but she turns that around to look at whether changing our body language can also change our feelings.
     
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  10. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    I've always found that smiling makes me feel genuinely happier. I also found once, shortly after having a PMT-induced meltdown, that if I set my mind to 'gloom and doom' I'd get a pain between the shoulderblades, and if I consciously switched to 'happy, positive thoughts' the pain would go - I could switch the pain on and off a number of times a minute, even though I was convinced I wasn't moving a muscle. I don't know how common it is among people without mood disorders to be able, to an extent, simply 'decide' to be happy. Presumably it is simply impossible for those with depression.

    I've seen it suggested that if you teach a dog to playbow on command and ask him to do this when he meets another dog, it will help him feel friendly towards that dog. It sounds a bit dodgy to me, but it's an interesting idea. OTOH, what young child has ever decided that they really liked their Great Aunt Bertha more ask a result of being told to give her a kiss? :confused:
     
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