Have you ever observed your dog winking and wondered what they’re trying to say to you? Or maybe you thought that winking signifies something more serious, like an allergy or eye infection. A winking dog is an adorable cutie, but this action can have various meanings, from showing affection to displaying health issues.
If you’ve stumbled upon this article, you’ve probably noticed this behavior in your dog. So, let’s find out what it means when a dog winks at you.
Why does my dog wink at me?
Dogs, like other animals, use body language to communicate with their owners and with each other. According to research, winking might be a throwback to a dog's wild ancestors. In the wild, wolves communicate through various visual cues, including eye contact and body language. Thus, winking could be a remnant of this ancient communication style.
A surprising theory is that canines may wink a lot to imitate your behavior. For instance, when you were intentionally blinking or winking when training a dog, don’t get too surprised when a doggo looks and winks at you from time to time. Such imitation behavior is even more evident when there’s more than one dog in your home.
You can always keep track of this or other behaviors with Petcube's interactive pet camera. It lets you see what your furry pals are doing when you are not at home!
What if my dog winks too much?
Suppose you see that your dog winks too often, and this behavior is accompanied by other symptoms. While some can signify severe conditions, others are nothing to worry about. Here are a few of the common issues that cause excessive dog winking.
Much like in humans, winking helps your pup to clean the eye and ease irritation. Since dogs tend to sniff low to the ground, eye irritation is not uncommon, while winking serves as a self-cleaning instrument.
If your dog repeatedly winks, it might as well be a sign of blepharospasm. A blinking reflex is a natural response to keep foreign materials from injuring the eyes. However, blepharospasm in dogs refers to the involuntary blinking caused by the spasm. Other blepharospasm symptoms include squinting and a twitching eye.
Entropion refers to a condition in which the eyelid rolls inward, causing eyelashes to rub against the dog’s cornea. This genetic condition is generally rare but extremely painful for canines and can lead to blindness if left untreated. Contact your veterinarian for a closer examination when your dog is winking a lot, accompanied by weeping or eye soreness.
Some allergies in dogs can cause dry and scratchy eyes that lead to winking and blinking excessively. Pollen and duet can even lead to excessive eye discharge in dogs, which might be one reason why dogs wink at humans.
Tear duct issue
Dogs can wink because a blocked tear duct causes dry eyes and irritation. As a result, excessive winking is a way to clear the tear duct to reduce eye irritation.
So, don't ring the bell immediately if you notice your dog blinking or winking from time to time. However, if it’s accompanied by eye soreness, irritation, or rubbing their face on the ground, seek the veterinarian's aid.
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Can you teach your dog to wink on command?
Winking is a trick you can teach your dog, but as with other commands, it should be positively reinforced with a reward. Suppose you want to make winking happen on order or more often. In that case, using behavioral shaping training is a decent idea. If your doggo winks you back or imitates your eye movement, use treats as a part of positive reinforcement training.
Make sure to eliminate the physical touch and let your dog feel a sense of accomplishment and joy when you teach them to wink on command. Before you know it, they’ll wink at you regularly!