Laughter is a wonderful thing. It can make us feel good and connect us to those around us. But what about our furry friends? Can dogs really laugh?
Sami, our Westie, laughs a lot. He shows us his canines every time we come home and that’s his smile, basically.
Do Dogs Laugh?
The short answer is yes! Dogs do laugh, but their laughter is a bit different from ours. While humans laugh with rhythmic, vocalized, expiratory, and involuntary actions, dogs produce a similar sound by forceful panting. You might recognize it as a “hhuh-hhah” variation. Dogs usually “play-pant” while playing to invite humans and other dogs to join in the fun. It’s a form of breathing and not a vocal sound, but it sure does sound like laughter!
Do Dogs Have a Sense of Humor?
It turns out, dogs might be funnier than we give them credit for. Dogs have been bred to have a juvenile mindset, which is similar to neoteny in humans. This stage of development is responsible for playful behavior in dogs, which is comparable to a sense of humor in humans. Charles Darwin was one of the first to observe this phenomenon. Research shows that certain breeds have more of a sense of humor than others. The top five most playful dog breeds are Irish Setters, English Springer Spaniels, Miniature Schnauzers, Cairn Terriers, and Airedale Terriers. So, if you’re looking for a dog that’s going to keep you laughing, consider adopting one of these breeds.
Do Dogs Understand Humor and When We Are Laughing?
Dogs might not be able to tell jokes, but they can understand when something is funny. A study at Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary found that dogs can detect emotions, such as happiness or sadness, and have dedicated areas in their brains to understand dog barks and human voices. Dogs process social information similarly to humans, and the more positive the sound, such as laughter, the stronger the response.
Do Dogs Get Embarrassed When We Laugh at Them?
It’s safe to say that dogs don’t get embarrassed when we laugh at them. Although they can distinguish between positive and negative emotions, they may not understand the social cues necessary to distinguish being laughed at and laughing with someone. So, go ahead and laugh at your pup’s silly antics. It’s all in good fun!
Do Dogs Try to Make Us Laugh?
Yes, dogs are natural comedians. They recognize that laughter means play, which is positive, and reduces stress and anxiety. It also helps strengthen the bond between humans and dogs. Depending on their sense of humor, dogs may do things to try to make us laugh. It might be a silly game of fetch or a hilarious pose they strike while sleeping. Dogs are always finding ways to make us smile.
Can You Make Your Dog Laugh?
You bet! Dogs are social animals that love to play, and laughter is a big part of that. If you want to make your dog laugh, try mimicking their playful “hhuh-hhah” sound. It might sound a little silly to us, but to our pups, it’s pure gold. Playful sounds like this can also be used to calm dogs that are worried, anxious, and shy in a variety of settings. Recordings of the sound can be used to soothe dogs in shelters, training facilities, and foster homes.
In conclusion, dogs are capable of laughing, and they have their own unique way of doing it. They also have a sense of humor and understand when something is funny. So, the next time your pup makes you laugh, give them a scratch behind the ear and enjoy the moment. After all, laughter is the best medicine!
Konrad Lorenz. Man Meets Dog. Routledge; 2015.
Do Dogs Laugh? | Psychology Today.
Do Dogs Have a Sense of Humor? Psychology Today.
Magazine S, Stromberg J. Your Dog Can Tell From Your Voice If You’re Happy or Sad. Smithsonian Magazine.