When You're Smiling, The Whole World Smiles With You...


Honored Member
Not sure this here deserves a whole thread, but, my (very abused) rescue dog was total grouch when we first adopted him, total gangsta, and it was long time before he stopped glaring at us, :cautious: (we just laffed, tossed bits of meat to him, and kept insisting *we* were not guilty---Buddy eventually did agree. He now loves us to bits.)

<--------and it was another long time until we ever saw him smile for the first time.

Buddy now smiles appropriately, such as whenever he is busy, big smiles all around....
but no one would ever accuse him of being super happy go lucky kind of dog.

Buddy doesn't even smile when we say "Go for a walk" or show him new toys, or prepare his dinner, etc etc., the way some dogs do.

He is just not a real smiley dog. Athough Buddy loves to goof around, and can be total fool :ROFLMAO:for a new squeak toy, ----------he has a more somber default expression, sort of like a mortgage officer...

so, i captured a smile, clicked, and treated it, whenever i could catch him smiling. I later added in the word "smile?" and he now can smile on cue, too.
Whenever i catch him smiling, i stop whatever i am doing, and heavily praise him and lavish att'n on him.

Rewarding smiles, has sooooooooooo increased his smiling. I can't even tell you how different he seems! I know for humans, if WE smile, our inner feelings can shift a bit. (try it, smile all the way to an appt you are dreading, you actually DO feel a bit better from the smiling). but i have no idea if this is also true of dogs....but, surely no harm done, either. At any rate, this sudden smiliness in Buddy greatly amuses us all!!!

And Buddy seems to be soooo enjoying 'playing' us with his newfound skill, as well as all the att'n and praise just for smiling....Buddy just can't get over it, and seems to continue exploring the powers of his new smiles...... Probably marvels to himself, "All this fuss and love for just smiling?"

I also started acting like i didn't understand he wanted to go for a walk unless he smiled at me.
Ha ha, NOW he often comes up to me, and smiles this big goofy smile, to see if he will just get lotsa loves, or an actual walk.

anyway, i thought the end result of rewarding smiles in my fairly serious-faced dog, was very interesting.


Staff member
Here's a previous foster dog Armen... He literally smiled... so did his Momma, and a younger sister who was 5 weeks old when rescued, 6 months younger than Armen... Armen and the litter of 5 younger siblings were rescued (off of a First Nations Reserve), and Momma was spayed by our rescue... Momma's name was Smiley, and we named the litter after comedians! LOL Whoopi was the sister who also smiled!

So here's a question, learned behaviour, or a hereditary thing?



Honored Member
Hmmm, THAT KIND of smile, i don't know, that might be an inherited thing, it might be! INteresting the entire litter did that!!

I've seen films of dogs doing THAT kind of smile on youtube, on cue. Probably it was captured and rewarded, but the way the some dogs pull their lips back, that is not how Buddy smiles. That "entire grill on display" kind of smile might be something just *some* dogs do? My icon picture there is what i am describing as "a smile" for Buddy.


Staff member
It's called (aptly) submissive smiling. I rewarded Armen's smiles heavily, and he LOVED offering that behaviour. His adoptive family have kept up with it, and he does it on cue now... but he used to "smile" everytime someone went up to him... it was very intimidating if you didn't know him! LOL The vet techs were terrified of him when they went to get him out of the cage for his surgery... they phoned and told me that the dog was aggressive and why didn't I state that! I laughed a bit and said that I had told the receptionist about his "smile"! He was so totally opposite of aggressive!

The receptionist and I had a good laugh about it, as the tech didn't read the note on the file!


Experienced Member
lol :ROFLMAO: I love it !!! Tigerlily, I thought Buddy smiled like the one on Sara's photo but the human smile !!! You must be doubled up when he does that !!!

Sara, I love your photo. Fly does this smile to dogs bothering her, it's a warning signal that means "go on like this guy, and I'll bite you". Generally, this "smile" is understood by the other dog who runs away but if he insists, she tries to bite him.


Staff member
Armen's is actually a grin, not a baring of the teeth like dogs do as a warning... and oddly enough (I kinda forgot about it) but Scout does the same thing (only less noticeable) when getting a belly rub, or greeting me at the door.


Honored Member
Yeah, i tell ya, rewarding
<----THIS smile in Buddy
has made Buddy seem like he is a 'happier', less serious dog.
He *might* still feel just as serious on the inside, (Buddy's typical face at rest is one of worry, i always tell him, "Buddy you worry too much!")

but, he sure looks like a 'happy' dog nowadays!!
I just think, with Buddy 'smiling' all the time now, surely, Buddy must feel happier on the inside, too? I think so.............no way to know for sure, i guess......... but to me, it seems he must feel happier to be smiling all the time.....i like to think so anyway.


Well-Known Member
:ROFLMAO:to cute! I ve read apost from you from two years back(yeah,I know,just going through and reading and learning:)) he does not do the "jumping up and staring baring the teeth" thing no more then,just the smile? Did you figure out whether it was meant as a smile or it being a warning? Just curious,its so cute:love:


Honored Member
Oh Dodge, thank you for reminding me of that! It is good to remember things i've forgotten about!!
He no longer ever ever does that, was isolated thing, only occured a few times in short period of time, not long after i'd got him, during his first summer or spring time, of being walked in public places. (in the winter, in truth, he did not much cross paths with others, we have brutal winters here...shiver)

Buddy WAS def people-agressive when we first got him, but, honestly, THAT did not take too too long to get him to like humans.

I am not entirely certain what that leaping/teeth display was, to be honest, to this day, i am not sure. I now think, it was not so much aggressive, as it was, over-excitement. He does blow fuses, and back then, did so much more easily.

My lil Buddy, especially BACK THEN. when we'd first rescued him from living 24/7 in a cage, in darkened barn, had absolutly ZERO skills whatsoever. none, nada, zippo.
He had no idea how to express excitement appropriately, no idea even how to show he was happy, or liked someone. He WAS much like an alien who'd just arrived onto earth, having been completely isolated from all experiences, all species, as if he was "just born" at age 1 year old. The ENTIRE WORLD was all new to HIM.
He'd seen nothing, ever, only his own cage, for his whole life.
They don't think most of those dogs had even sunlight before, and most, like Buddy, could not walk.

Looking back, i *think* his leaping up, that he was just over excited, just a burst of nerdy excitement, was all it was. I can't recall how we came to show him that was NOT what we wanted him to do when he met someone he liked (or didn't like,for that matter, which proved to be no one, he likes everyone.)..Darn shame i can't recall now, how we fixed that one. Probably Buddy fixed it by himself! ha ha!!
as a guess, i'd guess Buddy just developed some self control on his own, as he got more and more chances to be around humans. Or maybe i did correct him with a "no", but, i honestly can't quite recall how we DID get him to quit with that.

He also did 'similar' behaviors, when extremely excited, for some time, nothing that could be construed as aggression, but, just "explodes" when he gets VERY excited. Hard to explain, but, he ws kind of nerdy, can't be cool, when he got wayyyyyyyyyy tooo excited. Leaps and does laps, sometimes shakes toys excitedly, that sort of thing, when he is overstimulated by something.
but never ever does that leaping with teeth thing, not ever since then. But, wow, that did scare me back then, i worried it would escalate.

Buddy now LOVES all humans, ALL of them, no exceptions, he just loves eveyrone, and has since learned, how to behave when meeting ppl,
even children. (oh, boy, did i take my time introducing him to the world of small people!!! ha ha, oh i took every precaution, just to be safe, to get off on good foot, slowly bringing him closer to running and screaming kids, after he could safely observe them running around screaming at playgrounds, etc etc, over many weeks, just to be safe.) Buddy now loves kids, is very very tolerant of kids now.
Buddy got to smell his first baby this year, too. (we just didn't know anyone with infants, Buddy had seen a few, ha, WHAT a face he made, like, "What is THAT THING?" HA HA, but, never got close enough to smell one til this year---i did not want to risk it, and most new moms do not want some dog all close to their precious infant).
wOW, was i so careful, but, he did just fine, too a sniff, and sat down, smiling, as if to say, "so THAT's what those small ppl are!"

i sure learned a lot from living with Buddy. Stuff i NEVER had to learn before. (i am a probably a recovering idiot) But i've been lucky, a time or two, i made mistakes in trying to help Buddy, but, Buddy alwasy gives me another chance to do it better!! ha ha!!


Honored Member
Cooper smiles too. He keeps that smile for his 'special' people, people he loves:D
Jinx does it too, but only when she is insecure about a situation.

And once you know the smile, you can see that it is mostly the showing of the front teeth, not of all the teeth, like when showing agression.

I remember the first time, I saw a smile... Little Maia, my friends rescue aussie, gave me that smile and I punished her for it:oops::oops: At that moment I thought she was growling at me...Oops. But she was forgiving and showed me that wonderfull smile often together with her wiggle butt(she came from America so she was docked)