We always talk about how dogs are so much like humans. Whether it’s the way they can experience many of the same things that we go through in our life or the feelings they can emulate. They can show joy, excitement, and even sadness. They are like us in so many ways.
When we are happy we smile, but when we hear something that is funny, we laugh out loud. If you own dogs than I am sure that you have seen your dog smile. But can dogs laugh like we do?
The study of animal emotions has become quite the topic over the last few years. Many behavior specialists and scientists have come up with different scenarios to help answer our burning question.
Konrad Lorenz who is a Nobel Prize winner in ethnologist who says that dogs are capable of laughter. He believes that dogs actually laugh the most, when they are playing.
He believes that when a dog has a slightly open jaw where you can see their tongue, their head tilts back and an almost smile like in their face from ear to ear. Although no sound actually comes out, you get a very strong impression that they are laughing. Your dog is almost doing a breathy like panting motion. It’s this motion that identifies as human laughter.
Animal behaviorists Patricia Simonet who is at Sierra Nevada College recorded this particular type of panting like sound. This panting was different from just the normal panting. She found that this sound was over a much wider range of frequencies. If you examine the sound using spectrograph analysis you will see that sound spikes as compared to a normal pant which leaves the graph flat. This shows that this sound is different and could really be considered a type of laugh.
When she played that recorded sound to a group of puppies, they all became much more active. Playing this kind of sound to a dog shelter, it actually calmed all the dogs down. Just that sound really seemed to make a difference to them.
Can you tell when your dog is happy
Every dog has a completely different temperament than the next dog. Just like people no 2 dogs personalities are the same. The same goes for how your dog will react to happiness.
My 2 dogs show their happiness in similar ways. Now part of that might be due to the fact that they have lived together for 10 years and have a tendency to mimic each other a bit. They are one small dog and one big dog, so there are differences between them for sure.
For me, with my dogs, you can easily tell when they are happy. Finn for example can give you the big open mouth with his teeth showing from ear to ear. That is his full on smile. I always feel like he is saying HUH HA! A type of panting but not. It really is the cutest thing.
How to make your dog laugh
Now that we know that dogs really can laugh in their own way, what does it take to get your dog to that point.
Dogs show their happiness physically with some easy visual things like: Tail wagging, ears up and the bounding leap of joy. When they are really in tune with what you are doing, they pay complete attention to you and hang on every move or word that you say.
To think about what makes your dog happy enough to get that big smile is an easy thing. Just think about all the things that your dog loves to do. Dogs are an open book when it comes to showing their happiness especially when it is something that they love to do.
For my dogs, they love to go for walks, I can take them to the dog park, or better yet throw the ball or Frisbee around in the back yard. Any of those exciting dog activities will bring the open mouth smile and the so called PANT that we consider to be the dog laugh.
If your dog is older and maybe not that active anymore you can try some other things that may make them smile. Some of the ways you could get your dog to laugh are by simply scratching or rubbing their ears. It could also be something like having them roll over, so you can rub their belly. Every dog loves that.
Whatever action makes your dog happy, will make them smile and more times than not make them open their mouth show their teeth and get a laugh.
Do dogs laugh when we laugh
With my boys, I see that when I am happy and laughing, they instantly want to take part.
One of the easiest ways to get my dog Finn to laugh is to put on music. The second that I start to dance, he instantly jumps up on me to hold his paws so that we can dance together. He absolutely loves to dance when I dance.
I love music so much that the second I hear it, it makes me happy and full of joy. I really think that he feels that same joy from me.
Like many dog owners, when you have a good connection with your dogs and you are in tune together your emotions are easily picked up by them. Especially the happy ones.
When we feel joy, you can see it run through our body. We make our individual sound that is our own laugh and than we shuffle our body in a chuckle motion. Our expression on our face shows our utter happiness. It is very visible. Even if your dog is laying down and relaxing, they come over to see what the fuss is about.
Dogs can laugh in their own sort of way. It is not how we laugh, but I believe that it is still a laugh.
We know that dogs make many sounds when they play, they make bark, whine, whimper, and of course the breathy exhale. Establishing that I believe that dogs laugh, is of course my own personal belief and comes from my own research and the knowledge I have from owning 2 dogs.
This is easy enough to do. Find those things we talked about that make your dog happy. It won’t take long for you to see for yourself, that wide ear to ear smile, the open mouth teeth grin and the HUH HUH pant. There it is…… Your DOG’S LAUGH!
Whether you believe that your own dog is capable of laughing is for you to decide for yourself. You have the tools and your dog is waiting.