“I don’t think that we interpret the emotions in the facial expressions of dogs in any way that is similar to how we interpret those emotions in humans.” The man offering this opinion was a highly respected psychologist who had done extensive research and had many publications dealing with how people interpret the emotional expression of other humans.
He went on to say:
“When it comes to human facial expressions, we decipher the underlying emotions automatically. It’s really impossible for us to look at a human face without also trying to interpret the emotional expression on that face. I don’t think that this is what happens when we look at the faces of dogs. I believe that it is only if we specifically need to know the emotional state of a particular dog that we start to process its facial expression. Then we make an effort to estimate what the animal is feeling based on the information provided by its face. I think that there are certain cues or clues that we look for, but other than that it is sort of like trying to interpret patterns in cloud formations, or what sort of figure might be seen in ink blot.”