What a dog’s facial expressions mean
In addition to the use of their tails, ears, and posture, you can tell a lot about what a dog is feeling based on her facial expressions, and even the positioning of her head.
The vital thing most people notice on any face are the eyes, which dogs use to express everything from guilt to discomfort and just about anything in between. One eye gesture dog’s can sometimes exhibit is recognized as the “whale eye” which looks a lot like a side eye.
Rather than expressing judgement, however, whale eyes are often shown when a dog is stressed or uncomfortable, and usually when they feel cornered or like they do not have sufficient personal space.
A dog with her eyes slightly open generally is a stress signal or a submissive trait, while direct eye contact indicates intense focus, which doesn’t always mean that the dog is displaying aggression or dominance, although it can sometimes, depending on the dog and the situation.