You know you’re not supposed to feed Buster scraps from the table, but you just can’t help yourself when he looks up at you with those adorable puppy eyes. Well, the results from a new study published in Scientific Reports might make you think twice.
According to researchers, dogs put on that irresistible, imploring expression for our benefit and rarely use it when they’re hanging out with other dogs. Translation? Your pooch has been manipulating you this whole time.
Experts originally thought that animal facial expressions were dependent on emotional state and beyond your pet’s control. But scientists from the University Dog Cognition Centre at Portsmouth University (which we can only imagine is the happiest office in the world) found that dogs mostly use facial expressions when humans are around and as a response to attention.
The most common expression dogs used to sway humans in the study? Puppy eyes (i.e., raised brows that make eyes look bigger and sadder).
But what exactly it is that your pup is trying to communicate with those sweet eyes remains unclear. Does she want to be petted? A treat? Some cuddles? Until we know for sure, it’s probably best to give her all three.