Sometimes humans are slow on the uptake. Or perhaps it is our arrogance, thinking we are the only creature on the planet capable of emotion and communication.

It seems that scientists are slowly catching on to what most of us animal lovers have known all along…. animals are capable of emotion. Further, they are capable of making expressions that show that emotion.

And you know your dog can make those puppy dog eyes on purpose!

Pet dogs communicate with specific facial expressions when their owners are looking at them, according to a new study, and not just because they’re excited about the possibility of food. Researchers found that dogs move their faces in direct response to the human gaze — usually producing so-called “puppy dog eyes” — even more than when they are presented with a treat. (Yahoo Science)

Scientists say dogs make puppy dog eyes on purpose. Dog owners already knew that!

Puppy Dog Eyes are for Real

Yes, it seems that scientists are figuring out puppy dog eyes are a real thing, and the dog can change expression on purpose. Historically, scientific thought held that all animal expressions were involuntary, and usually a reaction to a food source:

The current study is therefore evidence that dogs are sensitive to the human’s attentional state when producing facial expressions, suggesting that facial expressions are not just inflexible and involuntary displays of emotional states, but rather potentially active attempts to communicate with others. (Nature.com)

This new study, however, shows that the dog has different expressions when dealing with humans that have nothing whatsoever to do with food. Your dog wants to communicate with you, and expressions are one of the ways to do it.

But let’s face it, sometimes those rascals are using expressions like those woeful puppy dog eyes to manipulate you into giving them what they want. 🙂

This cartoon is a perfect take on that:

How can you help but want to do something to make that poor sad looking puppy dog happier?

Watch out… those puppy dog eyes will get you every time! 🙂