Can we all agree that it’s really cute when dogs wink? When a dog flicks that eyelid, virtually every dog lover will be charmed.
While this gesture can be extremely adorable, have you ever wondered why do dogs wink? Many dog owners are convinced that their pups are only trying to relay a message by winking.
The reality is that dogs aren’t winking just to tell you something. Pups can wink for an extensive array of reasons. Can you guess why dogs wink?
What Is Dog Winking?
Pup winking is basically a type of gesture, facial expression, or body language.
When a dog closes and opens one eye quickly, it is winking.
Dog winking is typically harmless unless it’s suffering from a medical condition.
So Why Do Dogs Wink?
Despite common belief, pups aren’t winking just to be cute. There is usually a specific reason why your dog winks, and the gesture can be extremely normal in most cases. Discover why your pup may be winking at you:
Almost every dog will imitate the physical behaviors of human friends.
If people wink at your dog enough times, it will eventually start to mimic this gesture.
Dogs may also try to yawn when you yawn. When your dog mimics you, it’s considered a good thing because that means your four-legged friend will be extremely easy to train.
Let’s face it: Most dogs love to play.
While your pup is playing with human family or other dogs, you may have noticed your furbaby winking.
Don’t worry. When dogs are engaging in playful behaviors, it’s extremely normal for them to wink.
Since happy pups tend to be playful, it’s easy to conclude that happy dogs are more likely to wink.
Did you know that a dog will wink as a sign of respect? Let’s explain.
While eye contact is a great type of non-verbal communication among humans, dogs consider eye contact to be a form of aggression and sheer dominance.
When two dogs glare at one another in the eye, they are waiting for the other to look away and submit . Of course, if this doesn’t occur, the two dogs will probably end up fighting.
If your dog ever stares at you, it probably doesn’t want to fight . More often than not, your pup will break the stare by winking.
The wink is simply a way for your dog to respect you as the leader and keep the peace.
Most dogs will do almost anything to get attention, which is why winking can be a form of non-verbal communication for pups.
While some dogs will use sneezing as an attention-seeking tactic, other pups will wink for attention.
Shower your pup with lots of love and affection so that it won’t resort to attention-seeking tactics.
Possible Health Problems
Many dogs who wink excessively may actually have a serious health problem.
One of the most common health conditions that often result in dog winking is entropion . The condition is characterized by eyelids that roll inward, causing the eyelashes to rub on the cornea.
If you have ever had something in your eye, you can probably imagine just how distressing entropion can be for dogs. Many dogs try to assuage the pain and discomfort by winking.
The health condition is more likely to affect the following types of dog breeds: English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Pugs, Shih Tzus, and Chow Chows. These particular dogs are more prone to entropion because of their plump faces and short muzzles.
Blepharospasm is another health condition that can cause dogs to “wink” excessively. Just so you know, the “winking” that you’re observing from your dog is actually eye twitching. This common eye condition might be caused by a corneal ulcer, inflammation, neurological issues, or dry eyes.
Since these conditions are often extremely distressing for dogs, you should contact a vet immediately if you suspect that your pup is suffering from entropion or blepharospasm. Surgery is usually the only treatment for these health conditions.
As previously mentioned, eye irritation can cause dogs to wink.
A dog’s eyelashes are not the only cause of itchy eyes. Some other things that may irritate a pup’s eyes are hair, flecks of dirt, dust, and chemicals. Eye irritation can also be caused by scratches and pokes.
In addition, allergies can cause pups to have itchy eyes. Many pups wink excessively if they are experiencing an allergic reaction to grass, flea bites, particular dog food, or popular household items.
Regardless of the cause, your pup will likely wink a lot to relieve eye irritation. In order to protect your dog’s eyes, say “no” when your pup puts its head out of the car window, plays roughly with human friends, or rubs its eyes.
Please note: If the excessive winking is accompanied by redness, swelling, and watery discharge, your pup could have an eye infection. You should contact a vet immediately.
What Should You Do If Your Pup Winks A Lot?
Do you think that your dog is winking too much?
If you answered this question with a resounding “yes,” you’ll want to contact your vet as soon as possible.
Many pups who wink too much are actually suffering from a painful health condition. When the condition isn’t treated promptly, your pup could be at risk of severe eye problems such as blindness.
A vet will perform a thorough physical examination and order several medical tests to determine what’s causing your pup to wink excessively. Depending on the results, your pup may need eye drops, antibiotics, or even surgery.
Due to the fact that pups can’t really express when they are hurting, they will be relying on you to decipher their winking.
How Can You Teach Your Dog To Wink?
As long as your pup isn’t winking because of a health condition, this gesture is perfectly normal and even cute.
Wouldn’t it be cute if your dog winks on command? Here’s some great news: Training your pup to wink is entirely possible. The easiest dogs to train are Labrador Retrievers, Poodles, Border Collies, Boxers, Rottweilers, Golden Retrievers, but almost any dog can learn how to wink with enough patience.
Check out how to train your pup to wink using behavioral shaping:
Step 1: Touch The Whiskers Of One Of Your Dog’s Eyes
The first step is to make your pup wink. How? Gently touch the whiskers on your dog’s right or left eye until it makes some facial expressions.
For the best results, practice this first step in a distraction-free environment. By doing so, your pup will be able to give you its undivided attention.
Step 2: Give Your Dog A Command
Once you have made your pup wink several times, it’s time to give the command “wink” or “flirt.”
For this to work effectively, you must give the command as your pup is winking.
Step 3: Offer Treats As Positive Reinforcements
Whenever your dog winks when you touch their whiskers, reward the behavior by giving it a tasty treat and lots of praise. The tasty treat and praise will definitely motivate your pup to wink more often.
Just ensure that the treat is something that your dog really loves. Some great treat options are carrots, green peas, apples, and pieces of chicken. If you want to feed your pup packaged ones, choose the best dog treats that contain a low amount of sodium and calories.
The primary goal is for your pup to associate winking with extremely good things.
Step 4: Remove Physical Touch From The Training
After two weeks of saying “wink” or “flirt” while touching your pup’s whiskers, give the command without actually touching your dog.
If your dog winks, pat yourself on the back. Don’t forget to offer your pup a treat too.
You will need to repeat step 3 for one or two more weeks if your pup doesn’t wink on command.
Always remember that the keys to training your pup to wink are consistency and persistence.
Tips And Tricks
When it comes to training your dog to wink, these are some tips and tricks that can make the process much easier for you:
- Use dog toys as positive reinforcements
- Hire a dog trainer to help your pup make facial expressions
- Give these winking commands a try: “Oh really?” or “No way”
- Make your pup wink by tapping one side of its head
- Keep a wide variety of dog treats on hand
- Praise your dog every time it winks throughout the day
- Don’t ever give up. Always remember that dog winking may not be a natural instinct for your pup.
Generally speaking, dog winking is a normal gesture, and it’s not something you should be concerned about.
As a precaution, you can always visit a vet to ensure that a medical condition isn’t causing your pup to wink excessively, make strange facial expressions, or exhibit abnormal body language.
If you have the time, why not teach your pup dog winking? When your pup learns dog winking, you are sure to fall even more in love with your four-legged friend.
1. Why does my dog wink at me?
If you are like most dog owners, you’re probably asking yourself “why do dogs wink?”
Many dogs wink because they are playful, medically ill, mimicking, submissive, and attention-seeking.
Pups who are winking because of a medical issue may be suffering from entropion, blepharospasm, eye infection, glaucoma, allergies, or dry eyes. Call a vet immediately if you think that your pup has a medical problem.
Unless a health condition is causing your pup to wink, this cute gesture is completely harmless.
2. Do dogs intentionally wink?
Dogs intentionally wink if they are seeking attention, mimicking behaviors, playing around, and submitting. Of course, dogs can also intentionally wink if they are trained to wink on command or breaking eye contact.
If your dog is suffering from a health condition, the winking may not be intentional. Make sure to seek veterinary care right away if you suspect that a medical condition is causing your dog to wink.
3. What does it mean when a dog blinks with one eye?
When your dog blinks with one eye, it may be suffering from health conditions such as eye irritation and entropion.
Always remember that your pup may require immediate veterinary care if it blinks with one eye repeatedly.
4. Should you wink back at your dog?
If you want your dog to mimic this gesture, you should definitely wink back at your dog.
Winking will help you create a close bond and rapport with your dog. In some cases, winking is also great for breaking eye contact with your pup.
By using behavioral shaping, your dog can be trained to wink back at you too. Some dogs will even wink back at you without any training.