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Video: 4 Dog Smiles - Society
How nice when they smile at you! I want to smile back. Smiling salespeople are popular with buyers; politicians are specially trained to smile radiantly, trying to make a favorable impression on their voters; the first children's smiles fill the hearts of mothers and fathers with tenderness. However, even the morning and all passers-by, walking towards you, when you are in the best mood, can even "smile".
We have no doubt that animals can also smile - open the Internet, and you will find a huge number of touching posts with smiling animals. This gives the naive user the confidence that they all treat us well and are always happy and ready to help us.
We easily attribute joy and happiness to animals on the basis that the corners of their mouths are raised. However, what we take for a smile may be a simple morphological feature - as in the case of bottlenose dolphins (which cannot help but smile, since "smile" is a feature of their snout - this is the name of the front of the head of these animals).
And few people care that those mimic expressions in animals that seem to express "happiness" can be a manifestation of fear, active attempts at reconciliation or an outright threat.
Such a clear smiley
People recalling happy moments stretch their lips wide, while the corners of the lips are raised and their teeth are clenched. Peace and tranquility, contentment, pleasant anticipation of something are reflected in the folds around the mouth.
Our penchant for anthropomorphism - attributing human motives, causes of behavior, emotions and psychic abilities to other animals and even objects - immediately turns on automatically when we see something that looks like a smile on a human face. An example is an emoticon, which, having no body parts other than a smooth rounded line and dots-eyes in a circle, is perceived as cheerful and mischievous.
The evolution of the smile
Why do we trust smiling people, dogs and even emoticons? Of course, the cultural tradition is very important, according to which all polite people should smile at each other, even when they want to cry. However, there are deep evolutionary reasons for this.
In many primates, smiling plays an important role in establishing and maintaining social interactions with members of their group. Its main function is to pacify, calm down other individuals, primarily higher-ranking members of the group. For example, rhesus monkeys, when they want to reduce the likelihood of other group members showing aggression, often show the so-called fear grin. (Note: not a smile is a smile, but a grin is a grin.)
This grinning smile is quite effective in reducing the risk of attack from another individual. At the same time, “smiling” individuals demonstrate that they accept their low status.
The so-called "submissive grin" is also known among the great apes bonobos - this is a greeting to another member of the group in order to actively influence his further behavior.
Chimpanzees are also smiling. And also not when it is easy for them and wants to share joy, but when there is an urgent need to somehow settle interactions with others.
There is no better psychotherapist in the world than a puppy who licks your face
How do dogs smile?
Why are our four-legged friends smiling? Yes, all for the same - to achieve, as scientists say, social integration. That is, to stay in the group and maintain relationships with other members. However, the meaning of the signals transmitted by dogs through what we call "smiles" can be very different.
It's you, hurray, I'm so glad, so glad
The corners of the lips are pulled back a little, the teeth are not visible, the ears are slightly lowered and laid back, the tail in the "low position" moves from side to side.
Experts believe that a welcoming smile indicates that the dog is happy to see you and fully recognizes your leadership role and his position as a "little friend". If we look closely at the puppies, we will see approximately the same smile in puppies when approaching their mother in order to refresh themselves with milk.
I humbly respect you and in no way intend to fight
The corners of the lips are horizontally pulled back and therefore the teeth are visible, the eyes are covered and slanted to the side, the head is tilted back a little, the nose is not wrinkled, the ears are laid back.
A submissive smile, sometimes accompanied by a raised paw, eyes slanted to the side and licking of the lips, is a calming behavior, the purpose of which is to convey to an opponent - a dog or a person: “I met you, and I am not a threat to you at all, I humbly respect you and in no way case, I'm not going to fight."
Often such a smile is found in young dogs, when the owner approaches his pet with a decisive step, begins to wave his arms, hanging over the dog, loudly shouting welcoming words to her or jokingly reprimanding him for offenses.
Most often, the “submissive smile” appears in dogs that have doubts about the intentions of partners or strangers; such a dog often experiences fear and uncertainty. If the state of panic escalates, dogs may begin to tremble, freeze in place, or try to run away.
"Play face" (play face / play facilitation)
Ball, ball, ball, throw me a ball, please
The lips are strongly stretched horizontally, the mouth is slightly open, the tongue is sticking out far from the mouth, but the incisors and canines are not visible. The ears are raised up and slightly turned to the sides or lie flat on the sides, the tail is also held high and wagging.
A dog with a "playful face" is really in a good mood and invites its owner and his friends to active play, to interact without fear.
"Aggressive smile" (agonistic pucker)
One more step - and I cannot vouch for myself
The corners of the mouth, as with all "smiles", are pulled back, but at the same time the lips are raised and therefore the incisors and canines are visible, the tongue can be seen, but does not protrude from the mouth, a direct look at the opponent, wrinkles between the eyes, on the nose. Ears are raised and directed forward.
Such facial expressions indicate - no, even screams - that the dog has clear aggressive intentions and is confident. The danger of a physical attack in this case is quite obvious and close.
Why do we need to know this?
Dogs often "smile" not only to each other, but also to us, people, their owners. To correctly understand your pets, you should not fall into extreme forms of anthropomorphism, you do not need to humanize them: "they are the same as we are, only with tails."
For example, children under 6 years old look mainly at the "face" of the dog, at its mouth - and often make mistakes, becoming victims of an attack.
A dog showing a "submissive smile" (when teeth are also visible), insecure and fearful, is confused with a dog showing aggression and preparing to attack. Adults are often fatally frightened by dogs, actively approaching them with a peaceful intention to communicate, not distinguishing between an invitation to play and a demonstration of aggression.
In order not to be mistaken in the intentions of their own and other people's pets, experts advise: you need to pay attention not only to facial expressions, but also to the posture and nature of movement of the dogs, to take into account the context in which the interaction takes place. Behind the "smiles" of dogs are hidden not only their manifestation of the joy of life and love for the owner, but also their experience of fear and anxiety.
The warning we have taken for a smile about the possibility of aggressive actions can lead to very disastrous results for ourselves.