Why Do Dogs Wink? The Message Behind Your Dog’s Facial Expressions

Why Do Dogs Wink? The Message Behind Your Dog's Facial Expressions |

The English Writer, Samuel Richardson, once said: “Where words are restrained, the eyes often talk a great deal.”But, is that is why dogs wink? Do dogs have something to say?

Well, as a short answer, if your dog is not trying to get rid of something that may have gotten in their eyes; dogs wink to show that they are friendly, playful, relaxed and happy. It is their way to say: “Hello, friend. I come in peace”. 

Furthermore, usually, a dog’s wink doesn’t come all by its self; it comes with other calming signals, for instance, a relaxed jaw, half-mast ears, and an unstressed body.

why do dogs wink?
Credit: Giphy

How can I understand my dog?

We all wish we can understand what our four-legged friend is thinking, feeling, and want to say. It is a common feeling most dog owners have; however, we can’t. No matter how much we try, we will not be able to understand their language, and they will not be able to understand ours.

However, there is a language that we all can understand, and communicate with; we all can understand the body language and facial expressions. We can totally try to figure out what our dogs are trying to tell us by analyzing their body language, and one of the most important thing in the body language; dog eyes.

Dog eyes can reveal a lot about how they feel, want to say, or even what they hide!

Haven’t you ever entered your home after a very long day, and found that your dog made an accident or peed on him/herself (you can find more about how to prevent your dog from peeing on the floor or furniture in this link), then when you looked at him/her you saw how sad he/she is, and how he regrets doing it and upsetting you, from just his/her eyes?

Well, that’s what I am talking about. They might not be able to talk like us or communicate with us in the same language. However, they can, clearly, speak to us through their eyes, and we should learn how to listen.

Science Talk.

Biologists reported that dogs have facial muscles that help them lift their inner eyebrows, and that they raise their eyebrows more often, too.

That’s not it. Another research revealed that dogs produce specific facial movements while they are around human; Which means that dogs choose their facial expressions wisely based on their muscles capability and the situation they face.

Overall, we can conclude that whether dogs wink, widening their eyes, or making a puppy face; they choose doing it, it is their way of communicating with us, and they are so smart they even copy some of our facial expressions to make the communicating process even easier.

What other facial expressions do dogs make?

Dogs can make countless different facial expressions include winking, blinking, staring, gazing and eyebrow-raising. Those different facial expressions are not just cute things our beloved four-legged friend do. No, those are how they communicate with us. Therefore, we should know them, and understand them.

Why do dogs wink?
Hey beautiful!

Dogs Wink

Dogs wink, as we mentioned before, for many different reasons; however, all of them indicates a very happy and playful dog.

If you don’t know what the wink is; well, winking is a facial expression made by closing and opening the eye quickly, typically for human, this action is to indicate a joke, a secret, and sometimes flirting.

However, for our four-legged friends, winking is a facial expression, also made by closing and opening the eye quickly, but dogs wink to indicate good intention, playful mood, or a peace sign.

Can we teach a dog to wink?

Teaching your dog new tricks it such an amazing thing for both of you; it strengthen your bond with your dog, makes you spend more time together, let you know each other in a closer level, and also helps your dog burn off energy, and decrease times he/she gets Zoomies. If you don’t what zoomies are, you can check out this article.

So, how you can teach your dog to wink?

why do dogs wink?
Like that?

According to modern dog magazine, who asked Dr. Caroline Coile, who’s PH.D. based on behavior, to share with them how to teach a dog the winking trick.

She revealed that the winking trick is based on a specific type of learning called classical conditioning, which is based on the classical conditioning theory, that was proposed by the Russian Physiologist Ivan Pavlov.

For those who don’t know what the conditioning theory is, this theory revealed that the behavior is learned by repeating, so if you repeated the stimulus and associated it with the response; it will shape a behavior.

Accordingly, if the response you want her is winking, so all you need to do is associating the stimulus to the response. Let’s say that you want your dog to wink when he/she hears a specific word. For instance, “Really!”.

You want your dog to wink when he/she hear the word really:

  1. Say the word “really”.
  2. Gently, touch your dog’s whiskers, on the side of the eye, you want your dog to wink with.
  3. Your dog will automatically wink when you touch that part of his/her body.
  4. Now, give your dog a treat.
  5. Repeat. Say the word, touch, treat

With those five simple steps, according to Modern Dog Magazine, you will have a winking dog.

What other eye body language dogs do?

Dogs do a lot with their eyes, they look, wink, blink, half-close them, and more. However, the one eye body language that you don’t want to try with them is staring.

I believe humans and dogs do a lot of eye contact within the day, and that is fine. In fact, I feel very loved when I catch my dog looking at me while I am not looking at him, or doing something else, so I just look at him and smile.

However, what I am talking about here, is staring at your dog. In fact, dog see it rude, or threat!


Staring is not just eye contact, it is standing there looking deeply in your dog’s eyes without even blinking, which make him/her so uncomfortable.

The difference between staring and eye contact is that eye contact lasts for 1-2 seconds, and your dog is comfortable with it. On the other hand, staring lasts for longer than that, and your dog sees that as a rude body language and a threat.

What your dog will do when you stare at him/her?

If your dogs don’t want any trouble with you, he/she will just look away, or leave you alone and stay away from you. Because he doesn’t understand why you are threatening him/her, or why you are upset with him/her.

Also, your dog may slowly take some steps back, yawn, or shake his/her body off like if he/she just took a shower and shaking the water off his/her coat. All of those are signs that indicate that your dog is not comfortable with you staring at him/her.

So, if you found your dog staring at you, don’t stare back, you might have understood his/her simple eye contact wrong, and now you are frightening him/her.

To sum things up!

Dogs wink is not a dog’s body language you should feel afraid of, worry about; it is a normal body language, and also, it is a trainable trick.

Dogs have different characters, so don’t accept that all of them will act the same, or are able to do the same tricks; just love them and accept them the way they are.

Also, don’t stare at a dog, don’t start, don’t stare.

Why Do Dogs Wink? The Message Behind Your Dog's Facial Expressions |
Wink, don’t stare.

Related Questions:

Should I wink back to my dog?

Well, you don’t want to be rude, right? So, yeah wink back to that lovely, friendly, super amazing four-legged friend you have, and be thankful that you have a winking dog.

Why do dogs wink with one eye?

If he winked with both eyes it won’t be called winking, it will be blinking; so, blinking is winking with both eyes, but winking is just using one eye to wink.

So, if your dog wants to blink at you he/she will half-close both eyes, or half-close both eyes and open them again quickly, but he/she wants to wink, so please let your dog wink.

Why does my dog stare at me?

I can’t find a logical reason for why a dog stares at his owner. However, it depends, maybe your dog is waiting for a tasty snack, maybe he/she wants to grab your attention, maybe he/she wants you to play with him/her, or maybe he/she is trying to remind you of his/her walking time.

I know it can make you uncomfortable sometimes. But, let’s face it there is no dog will start at his/her owner to scare him/her, unless you know that your dog hates you for some reason.

Also, maybe your dog is teasing you to throw him/her a ball to catch or maybe you just look beautiful tonight, so he/she is wondering how lucky he/she is to have an owner as beautiful as you.

Now, tell us, Is your dog a winking dog?

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