(WSVN) - We humans know we are powerless to resist those adorable “puppy dog” eyes from our canine companions. Turns out, they know exactly what they’re doing.
Researchers at the University of Portsmouth found that dogs attempt to communicate through facial expressions, producing far more facial movements when humans are watching them, Fox News reports.
Specifically, they said dogs use the “puppy dog” expression more when they are being watched by a person, since they know it can bring them what they want.
“It seems that humans are particularly responsive to this facial movement in dogs,” wrote Professor Juliana Kaminski in the study, which was published in Scientific Reports. “Increased production of this movement in response to human attention could benefit dogs in their interaction with humans.”
Dogs also appeared to purposely show their tongues for the same reason, since it becomes more likely humans will devote their attention to them.
Researchers studied 24 different breeds of dogs, including German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and mixed breeds. The canines were observed while interacting with a human facing them, with their back to them, and with or without food.
Kaminski and her colleagues concluded that dogs raise their eyebrows when they are looked at, which makes their eyes appear bigger, but won’t do the same when handed food. Through their observations, they determined the dogs increased the frequency of certain expressions as a way of communicating with people.
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