New Study Shows That Dogs Can Read Human’s Facial Expressions

Dogs may not be able to talk back to us in a traditional sense, but a new study shows that they can understand us.

A man and a dog at sunset.
A man and a dog at sunset. Photography ©LoPeix | Getty Images.

Dogs and humans communicate very differently, but that doesn’t mean dogs don’t understand us. A recent study published in the journal Learning & Behavior suggests that dogs can read human facial expressions.

Dogs were shown different photos of the same human face while they were eating. The faces expressed anger, fear, happiness, sadness, surprise, disgust or being neutral. When the dogs saw anger, fear or happiness, they often turned their heads to the left, had an increased heart rate and took longer to go back to eating, a much different response than when they viewed other expressions.

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Dogster magazine. Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? Subscribe now to get Dogster magazine delivered straight to you!

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