Please note that some posts contains affiliate links & I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links Find out More

Do Golden Retrievers Bark A Lot?
Do Golden Retrievers Bark A Lot?

Do Dogs Laugh? Keeping Us Happy With More Than Wags

by | Aug 13, 2021 | Dog Training & Care | 4 comments

In these days of uncertainty and frustration, we all could use a few laughs. You might wonder, do dogs laugh like humans? In a word, sorta. Dog laughter comes in different forms, but I’m fortunate to live with three furry comedians. Bravo especially enjoys making me laugh, while Shadow-Pup is a hopeless tease. Karma-Kat watches from his cat tree, aloof and above it all (literally).

do dogs laughDo Dogs Laugh Like Humans?

We know that no two dogs are alike, and their personalities range from stoic to goofy. But do dogs laugh, too? We know that dogs often learn to mimic the human smile, in part because we love it so much and reward with lots of attention. For many years, scientists believed laughter only happened in humans, but that perception has changed.

Veterinarian and ethologist Michael Fox reported in 1998 that dogs used a breathy exhalation during play that might be compared to the human laugh. He noted this sound appeared to be exclusive to play and friendly greetings, and was used to signal the concurrent behavior was no threat. They often describe such signals as a calming signal that relieves stress in other anxious dogs.

Konrad Lorenz, a Pulitzer prize-winning Austrian zoologist and ethologist, also believed dogs had the capacity to laugh. He wrote about it in his book, Man Meets Dog (Routledge Classics, 2002). He agreed with Fox that the “dog laugh” most often happened during play with a beloved human, with the canine somewhat mimicking the human with open mouth and stretched lips in a dog smile or dog grin. But he also pointed to a very specific “doggy laugh” sound that was described as a huffing breathy “laugh pant” behavior.

Research Into Laughing Dogs

More recently, researcher Patricia Simonet followed Lorenz’s speculation with experiments. She recorded dog sounds during the early 2000s in various situations to see how they differed. She recorded dogs while they played at the park, and later analyzed the sounds they produced.

Simonet said the dog laughter sounds like panting, sort of a “hhuh, hhuh” sound. But once she analyzed the recordings, the sounds were quite different than normal panting. Dog laugh-panting included a broader range of frequencies than everyday dog panting produces.

To further test her theory, Simonet played the doggy laughter sounds to a group of fifteen puppies. The sound made them frolic and romp with joy, making her speculate they recognized the laugh-pant as a play signal.

She followed these experiments in 2005 with studies in an animal shelter environment. When recordings of dog laughter played in the shelter, the listening canines acted calmer. We already know that some kinds of music can help calm our pets. Simonet suggests that such positive dog sounds can help relieve stress and help make shelter dogs more adoptable. And that’s a benefit that makes us ALL laugh!

dogs laughterWhat Does Dog Laughter Sound Like?

So yes, dogs laugh! And you can laugh back at your dog, and inspire more happiness. Here’s how to do it.

A dog laugh sounds similar to a human saying, “Ha-ha-ha-ha!” but without sounding the “a” vowel. It’s simply a breathy exhalation. Experiment with reproducing the dog panting laugh sound to see how your dog reacts. Researcher Stanley Coren says his own dogs respond best to a “Hhuh-hhah-hhuh-hhah” with the “hhuh” made with slightly rounded lips. I found one YouTube recording of various dog laugh examples here.

There’s also research that points to a dog sneeze in certain circumstances as being similar to a “canine giggle” of delight. Trainer Turid Rugaas of Norway categorizes a “play sneeze” as a calming signal that tells other dogs the current behavior is no threat but meant in fun. I tried this with my own dog, Magic, and when I sneezed he looked at me with surprise—and then immediately dropped into a play-bow and then danced around the room. The current furry crew reaction in the same way, how neat is that?

Sneezing can prompt a reciprocal sneeze in your puppy, too. After all, laughter is catching and good medicine. Try it! We need all the laughs we can get.

Are Dogs Ticklish?

I don’t consider the leg-kick reflex in dogs as a ticklish response. Dogs might enjoy the contact and respond in predictable ways but they don’t giggle and laugh uncontrollably like people. Whether or not dogs are ticklish depends on the definition of the term. Here’s my take on why dogs leg-kick when scratched.

YouTube Button

Subscribe to Amy’s YouTube Channel

I love hearing from you, so please share your comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I do not recommend anything unless I feel it would benefit readers. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book giveaways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

4 Comments

  1. Franklin Steele

    Really fascinating. Who would have thought? Thank you.

    Reply
  2. Phyllis Hiles

    Along as they laugh with us and not at us.

    Reply
  3. chris

    I love the fact that people don’t think animals can have emotions like humans. We think we are the only ones that can do that-how sad for us. It is nice when someone like you writes an article and shows different. I believe all animals laugh and have emotions. They just may not show them like humans do.

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. National Love Your Pet Day: 14 Ways How Pets Show LoveAMY SHOJAI'S Bling, Bitches & Blood - […] laugh when they’re happy. Yes, it’s true–dogs have a very special way to laugh. You can sometimes prompt them…
  2. Pet Tail Talk: What Dog & Cat Wagging Tails Tell UsAMY SHOJAI'S Bling, Bitches & Blood - […] beyond the wagging tail or the slurping face-lick. Canine happiness can be expressed in many ways, even laughing! .…

Leave a Reply

Categories:

Recent Posts

National Pet Wellness Month & How Cats And Dogs Impact Our Lives

October is National Pet Wellness Month which celebrates caring for our pets. That means you’ll want to:

👨‍⚕️ Schedule a visit with your veterinarian
🆘 Watch your pet’s weight
🥎 Don’t skip exercise
👌 Keep up-to-date with pet prevention
🐾 Invest in pet insurance

For those who adore cats and dogs or other critters, our animal companions impact us in so many ways we can’t imagine living in a world without them. That begs the questions, how (and why) pets are so important to us. I covered this a bit in what makes people happy, but wanted to go beyond that post.

The Love Connection

As social creatures, humans crave companionship. We are tactile beings, relishing contact with others. During the COVID pandemic, with opportunities for human contact curtailed, our pets became even more important. While we couldn’t reach out and touch each other, petting a beloved dog or cat, horse or hamster filled up our empty emotional tanks with the love we need to thrive and survive…

TOP 10 DO’s & DON’Ts WHEN ADOPTING A PET for ADOPT A DOG MONTH

It’s Adopt A Dog Month! If a new fur-kid is in your future, remember that more goes into adopting a dog than picking the “prettiest” or just plopping food in a bowl. I’ve written about shelter adoptions before, but here are more specific tips. Follow these do’s and don’ts to ensure your furry love connection lasts past the honeymoon and endures for the lifetime of that pet.

10 DO’s & DON’Ts for Adopting a Dog (or Cat)

Don’t adopt too early. Kittens and puppies adopted too young bite and claw more than those corrected by Mom and siblings. Wait to adopt furry until they are at least 8-10 weeks old for pups and 12 to 16 weeks for kittens…

What Makes Humans Happy? And Where Do Pets Fit In?

When we look at the principles of Positive Psychology (the study of what human wellbeing and fulfillment is made of – including happiness) it’s easy to see why so many of us attribute our happiness and wellness to our pets! I’ve frequently written about how pets show love, and what dogs want out of life. So why not explore what makes humans happy, too?

Read on to learn about th 5 Elements of Human Well-being According to Positive Psychology…

How to Prepare for a Disaster: Pet Preparedness & Tips

With the latest hurricane and more on the way, it’s time to revisit your pet disaster plan. You do have one, right? After Katrina and Harvey, everyone should understand the importance of disaster preparation.

I posted this in June for National Pet Preparedness Month. September is Disaster Preparation Month. Hurricane Ian drives home the importance of having a disaster plan not only for yourself when Mother Nature throws a tantrum but also to keep your pets safe. Whether you must deal with tornadoes, floods, landslides, typhoons, wildfires, or other emergencies, there’s a rule that we must always PLAN FOR THE WORST.

And then pray it doesn’t happen. For those going through issues now, refer to these resources:

Florida Animal Shelter Emergency Response
Mobile Phone: 941-525-8035.
Office Phone: 863-577-4605.
Email: sthayer@spcaflorida.org.

Florida Animal Shelter Emergency Response

American Humane Red Star Disaster Response

American Red Cross

Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief (Government)

What Cats Want Out of Life & What Cats Need

Whether you share your pillow with a kitty, or care for feral, stray or community cats, always consider what cats want out of life. I’ve written about what makes humans happy, as well as what dogs want out of life, and it’s time for the cats. We love our cats all year long, but sometimes lose sight of what cats need out of life. It’s important to channel your “inner kitty” to learn how to keep the purrs rumbling 24/7 to provide what cats need.

Dark Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Books Galore! Booksweeps Giveaway, Emily Kimelman & More!

👀 I spy a steal…If you haven’t read my first September & Shadow Thriller, you can enter to win it on BookSweeps today — plus 55 exciting Dark Mysteries, Thrillers & Suspense books from a great collection of authors… AND a brand new eReader 😀

I’ve teamed up with fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of mysteries and suspense thrillers to 2 lucky winners!

Oh, and did I mention the Grand Prize winner gets a BRAND NEW eReader? 😁

Adopting “Other-Abled” and Less Adoptable Pets

September 19-25 is National Adopt A Less Adoptable Pet Week, founded by PetFinder.com. The organization encourages shelters and rescues to create special week-long events devoted to giving overlooked pets like those with disabilities a better chance at finding homes.

This struck a chord with me, especially after living with a tri-pawd dog when Bravo lost his leg. He didn’t act disabled, though. Have you ever adopted an other-abled pet or less adoptable pet?

What Is A Less Adoptable Pet

Why less adoptable? They’re the wrong breed or have special needs. Overlooked pets include deaf dogs or deaf cats, blind pets, or those missing a limb. Many folks prefer the ‘perfect’ cute puppy or kitten and don’t want a crippled pet, or just don’t like the color of the dog or cat. Of course, we know black dogs and cats, and those with only one eye, or three legs, still love us with all their furry hearts! Read on…

Do Pets See In Color?

I love this question. What do you think? Today’s Ask Amy topic is Do dogs see in color? What about cats and dogs, do they see things differently?

Today, take a fun look at this YouTube video discussing the question. And weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments–does color matter to your fur kids?

How to Manage Fur Shedding

When dog shedding and cat shedding creates hairy tumbleweeds, it creates a fur-ocious mess you need to manage. At one time, our German Shepherd Magic’s fur shedding turned our cream carpet to gray. Today we live with two short-haired pets. But Karma-Kat’s silver fur and the Shadow-Pup’s undercoat become furry dust mice on the kitchen’s slate floor, float through the air, and cling to upholstery and clothing. Knowing what to do goes beyond keeping the house clean. Proper fur care can prevent skin problems and also help manage hairballs.

Exposure to sunlight or artificial light determines the timing and amount of shedding. “It is a normal process which can be accelerated under certain circumstances,” says Steven Melman, VMD, an internationally known expert on veterinary dermatology and the founder of DermaZoo.com. In fact, indoor pets exposed to artificial light shed nonstop, even during triple-digit summer or frigid winter months.

Whatever time of year shedding occurs, it’s aggravating, and a nonstop cleaning challenge. Why do pets shed fur, and how can we manage the mess?

DON’T Hug Your Dog on National Hug Your Hound Day! Here’s Why

Several years ago when I wrote for the puppies.about.com site (now TheSprucePets) I took issue with a promotion advertised by a big-name pet food company that encouraged people to post pictures of themselves hugging dogs. Hoo-boy…Oh dear heaven, by the comments I received you’d think that I said cute babies are evil, apple pie is poison and advocated BEATING YOUR DOG! Part of that has to do with folks reading only the title and ignoring the content of the message. Oh well. That drives home the importance of titles, I suppose.

The promo really struck a chord with pet lovers. After all, who doesn’t love a hug? Hugs mean love, hugs mean happy happy happy, hugs are tail-wagging expressions of the joy we share with dogs. Right? RIGHT?!

Uh, no. And glory be, the promotion lives on, declaring September 11 as “Hug Your Hound Day.” Before you tar-and-feather me, read on to learn WHY hugging your dog can put you, and your dog, in danger…

Visit Amy’s Website

Amy Shojai CACB is an award winning author.  You can find all her publications and book her to speak via her website. 

On Demand Writer Coaching

AmyShojai.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com http://amazon.com/.

Awards

Memberships

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This