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Did you know that dogs can laugh?

Updated: Sep 24, 2023


Did you know? Dogs have a sense of humour and can laugh at amusing things. #CareyTrainsMe logo with light bulb and Carey training a yellow lab to sit.
Did you know? Dogs have a sense of humour and can laugh at amusing things.

Dogs are known for their loyalty, love, and affection toward their owners. They are also known for their ability to express emotions through their body language, barks, and even laughter. Yes, you heard it right; dogs can laugh! Although it may sound surprising, dogs have a unique way of expressing joy, happiness, and playfulness through laughter. In this blog, we will discuss how dogs laugh, what it means, and why it is important for dog owners to recognize this behaviour.



What is dog laughter?


Dog laughter is not the same as human laughter. It is a high-pitched, panting sound that dogs make when they are relaxed, happy, and enjoying playtime. This type of laughter differs from barking and growling, which communicate frustration, anger, and fear, and are usually a request for more space. Dogs typically show playfulness and joy when they laugh, such as wagging their tails, barking, and jumping.


How do dogs laugh?

Patricia Simonet, at Sierra Nevada College by Lake Tahoe, recorded sounds while dogs played. Simonet, found a sound similar to a dog panting but with a broader frequency. Dogs laugh by panting uniquely. This type of panting is different from the panting that dogs do to regulate their body temperature or as a sign of stress. When dogs laugh, they produce short, high-pitched pants that are accompanied by a relaxed body posture. This type of panting is often accompanied by other signs of playfulness, such as wagging tails, jumping, and barking.


What made Patricia Simonet define this as laughter?

When this “laughing” sound was played for groups of puppies, they romped for joy when they heard recordings of these sounds; in another, she was able to show that these same sounds helped to calm dogs in an animal shelter.


Recognizing dog laughter.

It is important for dog owners to recognize and understand dog laughter, as it can help strengthen the bond between dogs and their owners. When dogs laugh, they express joy and happiness, and their owners can respond by playing with them or giving them treats. This interaction can help build trust and affection between dogs and their owners.


In addition, recognizing dog laughter can also help dog owners identify when their dogs are happy and relaxed. This can be useful when dogs may be stressed or anxious, such as during veterinary visits or grooming sessions. By recognizing when their dogs are relaxed and happy, dog owners can help reduce stress and anxiety and create a more positive experience for their dogs.


How To Make Your Dog Laugh.

Humans can imitate the sounds of dog laughter, but it takes conscious monitoring of mouth shape to get the sound pattern right. Producing dog laughter correctly can make your dog sit up, wag his tail, approach you from across the room, and even laugh along.


Round your lips slightly to make a “hhuh” sound. Note: The sound must be breathy with no actual voicing, meaning that if you touch your throat while making this sound, you should not feel any vibration.


Use an open-mouthed smiling expression to make a “hhah” sound. Again, breathe the sound; do not voice it.


Combine steps one and two to create canine laughter. It should sound like “hhuh-hhah-hhuh-hhah.”


Why do dogs laugh?


Dogs laugh as a way of communicating their happiness and playfulness. They are social animals that love to play and interact with others. Laughter serves as a way for dogs to signal to other dogs or humans that they are friendly and approachable. This type of communication is essential for establishing relationships, as well as ensuring that playtime remains safe and enjoyable.


Dogs also laugh as a way of releasing pent-up energy and stress. Playtime and exercise are important for dogs' physical and mental health, and laughter serves as a way for them to release their excess energy and stress. This can help prevent behavioural problems, such as destructive chewing or aggressive behaviour, and promote overall well-being.


In conclusion, dogs have a unique way of expressing joy and playfulness through laughter. This type of communication serves as a way for dogs to signal to others that they are friendly and approachable and to release pent-up energy and stress. Recognizing and understanding dog body language and communication is important for building strong relationships with dogs, as well as ensuring their overall well-being. By paying attention to their dogs' laughter, dog owners can create a positive and supportive environment for their furry friends.


Can you make your dog laugh?


Learn more about Dog Body Language here








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