Have you ever seen your dog winking and wondered what they were communicating with you? Or maybe you believe your dog is winking excessively and is suffering from a health problem? I will address all of your questions regarding your dog winking and what it might signify in my guide to winking dogs.
What causes dogs to wink? Dogs wink at their owners to show pleasure, obedience or mimic human behavior. However, if your dog is winking and blinking excessively, this may be a symptom of an eye issue that requires veterinary care.
That is the simple answer; nevertheless, let us now discuss why dogs wink at you, what winking with one eye implies if your dog is winking excessively, and when you should be worried.
Why do dogs wink in response to your wink?
Have you ever considered that your dog is communicating with you via their eyes? You certainly would not be the first!
As humans, we created hand motions and vocal instructions to communicate with our dogs, while our dogs developed bodily gestures to communicate with us.
What does a dog’s blink at you mean?
What does it imply when a dog returns your wink? Scroll down to see the solutions!
At least a couple of these will be familiar to all owners. By spending sufficient time with your dog, you can determine what they attempt to communicate to you, whether the dog is pawing at the door to go outdoors or laying their head on your knee for attention.
Indeed, a new study indicates that dogs developed to have the well-known and beloved “puppy dog eyes” to communicate more effectively with people (read about the findings on TheGuardian.com).
Do dogs wink on purpose?
With this in mind, it’s unsurprising to think that dogs deliberately wink to communicate with their owners. It has certainly been ingrained in their genetic makeup as a result of thousands of years of domestication.
Therefore, what are dogs communicating when they wink at you?
How come my dog is winking at me?
Dogs, like many other animals, can not communicate via facial expressions. Still, over thousands of years of coexistence with humans, they have honed their ability to manipulate us and conform to our desires in return for food and affection!
1. Winking as a sign of submissiveness
Eye contact between dogs is an indication of dominance and aggressiveness. You’ll note that immediately before dogs fight, there is an intense period of gazing.
If neither party breaks eye contact (a sign of surrender), a conflict ensues in which one party attempts to assert control over the other.
When your dog looks at you, they are not interested in fighting, and so when you gaze back, they either look down or begin to wink at you.
This conduct indicates that they are surrendering to you as the pack’s dominant member. The wink is used to break up the gaze and maintain calm.
2. Smiling because they are content
An enraged dog will not be playful. A submissive dog will be playful and eager to please.
The more happy your dog is, the more he will wink at you or back at you, and in addition to the winking, there are additional indicators that your canine is content.
If you are concerned that your dog may not be as happy as he may be, read the symptoms to look for.
3. Winking in imitation of you
Another explanation for the winking may be that your dog is copying your behavior. Dogs are highly clever and may begin to imitate their humans as they get more used to their presence.
It typically begins with unnoticeable behaviors, such as resting when you rest and being aroused when you are excited. This may evolve into little gestures as well.
If you often wink at your dog, they may pick up on this behavior and mimic you. When several dogs are in the house, imitation behavior is more obvious; younger pups will follow the elder dog’s example.
Imitation behavior may be advantageous for teaching dogs new habits. With the assistance of healthy adult dogs, rescue canines who have suffered a lot from abusive homes will transition into new homes.
Once the rescue dog accepts the adult dog as their role model, they learn to let go of the psychological issues influencing their behavior and begin acting more like them.
Keep in mind that winking is not synonymous with blinking. Your dog’s eyes may be clogged with hard muck and need cleaning.
What if my dog winks excessively?
If your dog seems to be winking and blinking excessively, this may be a sign of a hereditary disease called entropion (read more on PetMD.com). Entropion is a condition in which the afflicted eyelid folds inward toward the eyeball, irritating the eye.
This disease is very painful and, if ignored, may result in ulcerated corneas and blindness. Consult your veterinarian if you detect excessive tears, discomfort, or excessive winking or blinking.
We own a French Bulldog, which is prone to a variety of health problems, including red-eye. You can learn more about what red eyes in a dog signify by visiting this page.
The best way to teach your dog to wink
If you like when your dog winks at you with one eye but would want to have this action occur on-demand or more often, there are many methods to teach this habit.
This is accomplished via behavioral shaping training.
Dogs are naturally inclined to please their humans, and behavioral molding teaches your dog to act in a certain manner. It’s a critical idea to grasp while training your dog. The more you learn about shaping, the simpler training your dog will be.
Behavioral shaping is the process of teaching your dog a new behavior via a series of stages. By breaking things down into manageable stages, you can accelerate the learning process and eliminate irritation and misunderstanding associated with training.
Additionally, when your dog learns additional skills via positive reinforcement, they will love their training, making it a pleasant experience for both of you.
Three fundamental components may be used to comprehend shaping:
The target behavior is the desired outcome – in this instance, training your dog to wink at you. That is precisely the behavior you want from your dog. To get to this point, you may need first to determine what it really looks like. You must specify precisely what you want your dog to perform, under what circumstances, and how you want to cue the dog to initiate the desired action. Additional variables may be included depending on the desired behavior.
Successive approximations: Successive approximations are the little steps that will be taken to achieve the desired behavior. Rather than attempting to teach the dog to blink one eye all at once, you will begin by rewarding approximations of the desired action. Each step brings you closer to your ultimate destination. There has been much skepticism about this training method, with some claiming that breaking the desired action down into smaller stages requires more time than utilizing a single large step. However, it has been shown that training in smaller stages really speeds up the process since the communication is better, and the dog knows much more about what is required of them.
Differential reinforcement: It is via reinforcement that this kind of training remains successful. Each time the dog exhibits the desired behavior with a one-eyed wink, they get a food treat, love, or a toy as a reward. The trainer may determine if this technique is effective by observing the dog’s continued behavior and (ideally) increased frequency.
Creating the appropriate stages for the goal behavior is critical, and with a well-designed shaping plan, your dog should have no difficulty achieving the target behavior. If your dog is unsure about what it should perform, more stages may be required, depending on the intricacy of the desired action.