Is Your Doggie Being Cute On Purpose?
Every dog walking on this planet is cute; all arguments to this statement stand invalid. Your four legged canine companion/fur baby cannot help but be adorable at all times of the day and night. You know best as your dog's parent that doggies cannot help but be recklessly, horribly, absolutely loveable. But how do they manage it? Are we as humans simply hardwired to admire our paw pals' disarming charm, or have we learnt this along the way? At what point of evolution did feral, ferocious, sharp fanged wolves turn into sweet, smiling bundles of love?
Even more important to know is the fact that your doggie might be trying to tell you more via its wagging tail or lolling tongue than that which may meet the eye. Read on to find out pet psychology's great revelations about common dog behaviors and how evolution might have a role to play in them.
The Toothed Smile
All dog parents are more than familiar with what we mean by the dog smile. But does your dog smile to indicate happiness, or is there something else?
Speaking in the context of modern dog's ancestors, a wolf retracts the corners of its mouth to show defeat or submission to the wolf standing in front of it. That way, wolves label the other as alpha by show of sign. The dominant wolf immediately understands and thus a hierarchy gets established.
In your little family however, your pet's smile indicates that (s)he has accepted you as the alpha, thus pledging a lifetime of loyalty and submission. Perhaps that's the reason why it is rare to spot German Shepherds or Rottweilers smiling. Pet owners might disagree though-they may admit that their dog smiles occasionally despite being ferocious enough-and they may be right! As long as you spoil your dog with treats, pats on the head or neck strokes, the number of their smiles (and the depth of their loyalty) would only increase.
The Inadvertent Head Tilt
Again, you already know this one. When your dog tilts his head to a side, is (s)he being adorable on purpose or trying to tell you more? The answer is actually more logical than cute. There are several reasons behind your baby's head tilt.
Dr Stanley Coren, who is a renowned neuropsychologist, opines that dogs cock their heads to a side only to see better. Dog's have eyes located on either side of their bilaterally symmetrical head. They tilt it to obtain a better range of vision towards a near or distant object. Secondly, dogs are still trying to learn ways with which to understand the world better (as much as we are). As soon as your facial expressions, hand gestures, body posture and tone of voice changes, they tilt their heads to see what actually effected that change. Furthermore, their muzzle coming in the way of their vision makes things difficult for them.
Additionally, dogs need to tilt their heads to locate the source of a sudden sound. While you have a perfectly designed ear structure to collect sound waves coming from any direction, your canine has long ear flags that partially cover her/his ears. By means of tilting their heads to a side, they attempt to shake off that large hairy flap of an ear for improved hearing.
So the next time you see your dog being endearing with the head tilt, you would know that your dog is only trying to see/hear/communicate better while being unintentionally adorable.
For more information about why dogs tilt their head, check out this video:
Sad Puppy Eyes
This one is the most becoming of your pet's lovable traits. No matter how naughty or nasty your pet has been, no matter how many cushions (s)he has chewed to bits or harmless squirrels (s)he has chased, the moment (s)he brandishes those beady, gleaming. opaque sad dog eyes towards you, all your anger and frustration somehow magically disappears. No force on Earth can seem to withstand the intense love emanating from a dog's eyes, regardless of age. Think about it: the eyes of some months' old pup seem just as cute as that of an ageing 10 year old elderly fur-boy/girl.
But what makes dogs' eyes so endearing? One part of the answer is evolution and the other part is human psychology. According to research conducted by the University of Portsmouth, human beings have a natural soft corner for baby like faces (that involves large eyes, puffed cheeks, pointed chin, wisps of hair among other features). Now since our pets cannot exactly mimic the facial features of a typical human baby, they enlarge their eyes deliberately to appear cuter, which make them likeable for their human owners- an evolutionary habit that ensured survival of the species.
Well that more or less explains why dogs behave the way they do. Does your dog have an particularly cute behaviors? Leave a comment below!