You know, a dog can snap you out of any kind of bad mood that you’re in, faster than you can think of.” – Jill Abramson
This quote holds the truth about the expressive nature of our furry friends. Dogs are the best companions in our sad times; they’ll do everything to make us smile. If they can make us happy and laugh, can we make them happy? Most importantly, Can Dogs Laugh?
No, Dogs cannot laugh exactly as humans but they can make a sound similar to a laugh. You may notice it when your dog plays a lot, they pant and breathe heavily with wide cheeks and tongue hanging out. This expression can easily be mistaken for your dog laughing. Don’t worry, we’ve got your doubt clear. Read on to know further!
Do Other Animals Laugh?
We all thought that only humans could laugh. However, research into non-human primate behavior has found that apes like gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutans pant when they are tickled. Several other studies have also shown that rats that are domesticated produce a high-pitched sound when tickled. This sound is really close to human laughter. Apart from these, dogs are known to laugh in a different way than humans.
What Does a Laughing Dog Mean?
A laughing dog is nothing but an overjoyed doggie who is panting due to exhaustion. During play encounters dogs vocalize using at least four distinct patterns; barks, growls, whines, and a breathy pronounced forced exhalation known as dog laugh. A study after research done in Animal Behavior Centre also showed that recorded playback of a dog’s laugh reduces stress-related behavior in shelter dogs. This study suggests that the dog-laugh vocalization diffuses stress-related behavior and initiates social behavior in shelter dogs at the same time.
How Do Dogs Laugh?
All types of laughter are a sound made by inhalation and exhalation of air. Even human laughter is generated through the squeezing of chest muscles in order to squeeze out air from the ribcage. A study discovers that dog laughter is created by panting without any vocalization. While panting, dogs pull their lips backward, stretch their tongue out and softly close their eyes. This makes them look exactly like smiling clownish beings.
Mimic your dog’s laughter, this way you can bond really well with them. Most owners claim that their pooches respond to them by sitting up, wagging their tails, approaching them, or even performing their favorite tricks.
How Can I Make My Dog Laugh?
If you want to make your dog laugh, the procedures are simple. Follow these steps:
- Start by rounding your lips to make the first “hhuh” sound. The advice is to do this with no vocalization. Even if you touch your throat, you shouldn’t be able to feel any vibrations. There should not be any voicings at all.
- Open your mouth and make a smiling expression for the “hhah”. Once again, do it with your breath only and avoid voicings.
- Add these two sounds together with a continuous “hhuh-hhah-hhuh-hhah” to have your dog rolling around on the floor, laughing at you.
Do All Dogs Laugh the Same?
Identifying and generalizing a dog’s laugh in other dogs is one of the trickiest and toughest jobs to do. Dog’s laughter varies according to the size and breed of an individual dog. There is no vocalization while they laugh. Thus, it is really hard to identify dog laughter. Like humans have different ways of laughing, different dogs have different ways of laughing as well.
Do Dogs Laugh When They’re Happy?
The panting that we suppose as dogs laughing may not be the actual laugh. However, the motive of the dog’s laugh and human laugh is the same. When your dog is satisfied with their playtime and exhausted happily, they may approach you with a smile. This is also one of the ways you can find out if your dog is happy.
Dogs also respond to their owners while their owners laugh. Your dog may smile wide open with a relaxed and open-mouthed expression in response to your smile. This dog behavior is known as laughter contagion.
According to an article on I Heart Dogs by Scott H, a dog with an open mouth that looks happy could also be uncomfortable or stressed. Thereby, approaching a “smiling” dog may not always be a good idea as you can never know if you’ve misinterpreted what that smile is implying. It’s always a good idea to ask the owner first.
Do you want to know more about your dog smiling? You can get all your answers relating to dogs smiling here.
How To Know If Your Dog Is Happy?
If dogs can neither laugh nor smile as humans do, how do they present happiness? Commonly, almost everyone believes that dogs wag their tails to show happiness. This is not necessarily true. Dogs may wag their tails to convey a wide range of expressions and messages. All of this depends upon their tail position.
If your dog has their tail where it is supposed to be regularly, it means that your dog is relaxed. A dropped tail that is lowered than its regular position may be a sign of submission, anxiety, and stress. While wagging of the tail is linked to the excitement, an over-raised tail is an early warning. It’s a sign of aggressive or dominant action.
Instead, it is more sensible to look at the dog’s body language and behavior rather than if the dog is smiling or laughing. Signs like a tumbling tail, open mouth and a calm posture can be a good sign of a happy dog.
You might also be interested in Do Dogs Have Feelings?
So, Can Dogs Laugh? Yes, but not in the same way as we humans laugh. Dogs do have emotions and happiness is one of them. It’s just that they have their own way of showing it: laughing and smiling isn’t always one of them. So the next time you see your pup laughing at you, it’s not because you look funny or they understood your jokes. It’s because they are satisfied with their daily exercises and interactions. What more? It’s a good sign that your dog is in paw-fect condition.
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To explore more, here are other articles related to a dog’s feelings.
Have you ever seen your dog laugh? How often do they show their wide grin? Have you ever tried making them laugh purposely? We would love to hear from you. Please share with our community by leaving a comment below!