TheGiantVermin via FlickrQ. When my dog first greets someone, she shows all of her teeth and "smiles." Some visitors mistake this for aggressive behavior, but she's just very excited and happy. What is she doing and how can I explain it to people who visit?
A. It sounds like your dog is displaying an appeasement gesture, called a submissive grin, to show you and others that she's no threat. Submissive grins are a way for a dog to show deference to another individual.
Usually submissive grins are associated with increased movement and a body posture that is lower than the dog's normal stance. There are other signals your dog likely uses, along with her submissive grin, to show deference, such as lowering her tail, lifting a paw, licking you, licking her lips and looking away or squinting her eyes.
See Also: Why Does My Dog... Stare at Me?
The submissive grin is a tactic dogs use to shut off aggression from another individual, either human or canine. ThisRead More »from My Dog Smiles when She Greets People — is This Normal?