Do you ever feel like your dog knows what they are doing when they give you those big puppy-dog eyes after you say no? Recent research suggests they do because that look that you can’t get away from may actually be an evolutionary response to better manipulate humans into taking care of them.
Scientists have noted that there is an extra facial muscle by the eyes that prompts what they call a ‘nurturing response’ in humans. This apparently helps humans’ bond with their pets, as this muscle mimics the facial expressions of very young children.
The movement from the muscle in question makes it appear that they are using their eyebrows to communicate, and any dog owner can attest to this look. It creates the appearance of larger eyes on the face and an upset or concerned human-like look.
Researchers realized this might be an evolutionary trait just for us humans when they noted that dogs don’t use this expression with each other, but only when looking at their humans. This makes the action deliberate, and with purpose.
Next time your dog gives you those emotional eyes when asking for another treat, let them know you are onto their manipulation tactics.