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Say Cheese! Dogs and their smiles

By BrookeLynn Published: May 8, 2009

Ted and I were at the dogpark the other day, when we met up with a new friend named Toby, an adorable mid-sized mixed breed.

Toby bolted towards Ted, teeth bared, but all with a wagging tail. I snickered and complimented Toby's mom with "Aw, what a perfect smile."

She chuckled too, and mentioned that a lot of people get scared, thinking Toby is going to attack.

I know all dogs smile: just look at them...they are a constant-one-big-dorky-goofy-smile.

But some dogs have a very unique, full teeth grin.

Have you ever seen such a thing? I must admit, the first time I saw a dog smile big, I kinda wondered if I was about to lose a leg.

But why? How? Can they?

Ask any dog owner and the answer will be a resounding "yes". Ask a pet behavioralist why, and they may give a reply that has to do with submissive behavior, wrapped with some other technical canine lingo.

I say, let's think about it. Why do we humans smile? Aside from being happy, what about when you pass a stranger? When you smile, you are basically telling a stranger "Hey, I'm no threat and probably kind of nice".

In my opinion, I think it is the same with our pooches. When Toby came running up to Ted, teeth bared, yet wagging his tail, it was his way of saying "Hi, friend."

After all this thought and the direct-connection between human emotions and doggy emotions, I can't help but be thankful the "happy piddle pee" some of our poochies can't resist when they are excited is not another commonality between canine and human.

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