Laughter is our response to something funny or humorous. Have you wondered if your Fido will also react to something funny like you do? So, now comes the main question, can dogs laugh? It’s a debatable topic indeed. While some say dogs can’t laugh, a few believe they can, but not in the way humans do.
Human laughter has a rhythmic vocalization, which is lacking in dogs. While playing, dogs produce a huh-hah sound replicating laughter. It isn’t a vocalization but is characterized by a breathing sound produced by forceful panting, also known as play pant.
When your dog invites their human friends or pals to play, they will also do a play bow beside the play pant as a welcoming gesture.
What if your pup doesn’t make play pants? Is there a way in which you could make him laugh? Read on to know more.
Do Dogs Really Smile?
Before getting on to how you can make your dog laugh, let’s know if dogs can smile.
Several animal behaviorists in the past had opined that dogs smile not to express their joy. Rather, their facial expressions are similar to smiles in response to their muscular reflex. However, experts have challenged this notion. New studies reveal that in some animals, their facial expression could seem that they are smiling. That could be how they express their feelings or emotions.
Now, don’t expect your dog to smile the moment they see something funny, just like you do. Instead, you need to understand that your dog’s smile is a way of relaxing. He is likely to feel content or be in his happy space. Your dog will express the same through facial gestures.
When a dog smiles, it will have a relaxed posture, with its mouth open and teeth visible. You could even see the corners of your dog’s mouth slightly turned upwards. When a dog shows its teeth, many perceive it as a sign of aggression.
However, suppose the teeth are visible due to smiling. In that case, you will notice a submissive and relaxed gesture, as opposed to an occasion when it’s aggressive. Your dog will have its head bowed in submission and wag his tail. His ears will appear flattened, while the eyes may generate a soft look.
In contrast, if a dog is aggressive, he will not just show his teeth. Your canine will also indulge in lunging, biting, nipping, snarling, and growling.
If you want those priceless grins to reflect on your dog’s face often, then the onus lies on you to understand what makes your dog the happiest. It could be a walk to the park, a cuddle from your end, or his favorite treat.
How To Make Your Dog Laugh? 3 Interesting Steps and Other Useful Tips
Well, if your Fido isn’t laughing spontaneously, and if you desire to help him do the same, then you must be adept at mimicking a dog’s laughter. As mentioned above, dogs make a sound similar to laughter when they play-pant.
So you must observe your dog from close quarters and produce a similar sound. Here are a few tips for you:
- To produce that “huh” sound, you must round your lips at first. Remember that there shouldn’t be any vocalization, and the sound must appear breathy when you make the sound feel your throat. If it isn’t vibrating, that means you have almost got that sound right.
- Now for the “hah” sound, open your mouth wide and have a smiling expression. Here too, you shouldn’t vocalize but only breathe.
- The final step lies in combining both sounds, huh-hah, huh-hah! If you get it right, you’ll closely imitate your canine’s laughter.
Your sound may not be the same as your dog’s laughter. Yet, if you can do it correctly, your dog could perhaps connect with it. He may even wag his tail or sit up and get about investigating the source of the noise.
Now that was the way you could get your dog to laugh. But it would help if you remembered that a dog will laugh when it is happy. So to boost its mood, there are several things to do from your end:
- Take your dog on a walk often or even for a joy ride – As he travels with you in the car, he’ll witness several sights and sounds around. It will make him joyful, so your dog could start making the huh, and hah sounds.
- If playtime with you is your dog’s favorite, make that happen often – When you engage your pup in a game of fetch, it will be glad to jump and run around. Your pup will be physically stimulated and get sufficient time to bond with you. All this will make your dog happy, prompting it to emit vocalizations of delight.
Do Dogs Understand Laughter?
So, we’ve spoken about how you can make your dog laugh. But before you do that, it’s also important to know whether your dog understands laughter. Well, dogs might not comprehend laughter the way humans do.
But research mentions that they are adept at understanding human emotions. Your dog could even distinguish a happy expression on your face from a sad or angry one.
When your dog is socialized well and exposed to different people and experiences since puppy days, he can distinguish the good from the bad. He also develops the ability to associate certain sounds with a positive experience.
So, when you smile or laugh, your dog will perceive you are happy or in a good mood. It, too, will enjoy the positivity and try to be a part of the same.
What Does Dog Laughter Look Like?
True that your dogs will not laugh in the manner in which you will do. Yet, they, too, have their ways of expressing their joy and happiness. As mentioned that when your dog tries to laugh or wishes to express his joy, he will exhibit a breathy panting that lacks vocalization.
The breathing sound produced by dogs is likened to a human’s laugh and giggles. Besides the panting sound, your dog will also show other bodily gestures when he is laughing.
These include giving a play bow, wherein the dog will stretch its forelegs in front and lean down on his elbows. By doing so, their chest is close to the ground giving the impression that they are lying down. But they aren’t since their rear end remains elevated.
Your dog will also express his delight by giving a soft gaze, making bouncy movements, and wagging his tail gleefully.
When you understand your dog’s laughter and respond to t positively, you form a perfect bond with him.
Can a Dog Have a Sense of Humor?
Dogs are hilarious, amusing, and entertaining. Some breeds are perfect clowns making their owners burst into peals of laughter with their delightful antics. But the question lies in the fact that are dogs humorous? Are they aware that they are being funny?
According to certain theories, dogs are aware of what is funny if a sense of humor stands for playfulness.
In his book, The Descent of Man, Charles Darwin mentioned that dogs display a sense of humor. He elaborated on it by giving an example of a play. For example, if a stick is thrown at a dog, he will carry it for a considerable distance.
He will then sit with the stick and wait for his master to take the stick away. The moment his master gets close to taking the stick, the dog will grab it and run away triumphantly. As he repeats this, he will enjoy the act to the fullest.
Boston Terriers are pretty high up on the list when it comes to humorous dogs, who charm all with their clownish antics. The Boxer dog isn’t behind. They, too, are perfect entertainers making everyone in their home roll with laughter.
Other breeds well-known due to their clownish antics include:
- Irish Setter
- Cairn Terrier
- Miniature Schnauzer
- English Springer Spaniel
- Standard Poodle
- Golden Retriever
- Miniature Poodle
- Australian Shepherd
- German Shorthaired Pointer
Do dogs get embarrassed when they are laughed at?
True that dogs can differentiate a positive emotion from a negative one. But, they aren’t able to comprehend the cues needed to understand subtle emotions like laughing alone with someone or being laughed at.
If you laugh at your dog for his funny antics, he won’t understand the same. Instead, your dog will be happy seeing you in a positive state of mind.
Can dogs try to make their human friends laugh?
Yes, dogs can entertain their human friends and make them laugh with their remarkable antics. Some dogs, like the Boxers, and Boston Terriers, are renowned for their clownish antics.
How can you make your dog laugh?
If your dog is anxious or is in a stressful environment, the onus lies on you to cheer him up. Whenever your dog play-pants it could be useful if you record the same. When your dog is going through his lows, you could calm your dog by making him hear this sound.
You will hear more of those play pants when your dog is happy, stimulated physically and mentally, and in his happy zone. You will also get to see his grins too often. You will not have to work that extra hard to make him smile and laugh.
Elena Gherman is a highly skilled and knowledgeable animal care expert. At the start of her career, she gained practical expertise with multiple animals. In addition to that, she works as a DVM veterinary editor for Joy Pet Products, which focuses on offering reliable information on pet health and wellbeing. She meticulously reviews each piece of writing before it is published to make sure pet owners get the most precise and updated information possible.