Yes, your puppy is making those absolutely adorable faces just for you. At least that's the takeaway from a study published Thursday in Scientific Reports. Researchers from the University of Portsmouth's Dog Cognition Centre studied 24 dogs of various breeds and came away with the first evidence that dogs move their faces more when they know humans are looking, according to a press release.
Scientists have long believed the facial expressions of mammals are involuntary responses to emotions. This study shows that, at least for domesticated dogs, that may not be the case. "The findings appear to support evidence dogs are sensitive to humans' attention and that expressions are potentially active attempts to communicate, not simple emotional displays." researcher Dr. Juliane Kaminksi says.
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