Do Dogs Laugh?

For a long time, psychologists and behavioral biologists agreed that laughter was an emotional response that only humans can express. However, at the present time Psychology Today reports that this idea has been examined further.

Nobel Prize-winning ethnologist, Konrad Lorenz suggested that dogs are also capable of laughter during their playtime.

In his book, Man Meets Dog, Lorenz identifies dogs panting with human laughter. He says, “An invitation to play always follows; here the slightly opened jaws which reveal the tongue, and the tilted angle of the mouth which stretches almost from ear to ear, give a still stronger impression of laughing. This ‘laughing’ is most often seen in dogs playing with an adored master and which become so excited that they soon start panting.”

Patricia Simonet at Sierra Nevada College in Lake Tahoe also examined laughter sounds in dogs. Her team stood in parks with a special microphone that allowed them to record the sounds that dogs made while playing. She explains that dog laughter sounds much like a dog panting. When she further analyzed her recordings, she discovered that this panting changes into a broader frequency range.

She then replayed these sounds to 15 different puppies. The puppies jumped for joy when they heard the dog making these sounds. Simonet then went to an animal shelter and saw the dogs calm down as she played the sound. She also found that when she tried to mimic the laugh panting sounds, it seemed to have a positive effect on the animals who were listening.

Whether or not you agree that dogs are actually capable of laughter, there are other proven ways that they show you happiness and affection.

Because each dog has its own unique personality, they may also show you their happiness in ways that are truly unique to them. However, there are some common behaviors that dogs exhibit to show you that they are truly happy.

One way is that the dog becomes willing to make eye contact with you. When your dog is happy, he may give you that gaze that implies that all is well within the world. Their eyes become relaxed and of normal size. You can build a closer relationship with your dog by teaching him to look at you for guidance.

Another indication that they are happy is that they react happily to the sound of your voice. When you come home and call your dog, he may come over to you joyfully. He may even go as far as bringing you over his favorite toy as a gesture of love.

One of the most recognizable things that dogs do to show love is that they wag their tails. Although tail-wagging doesn’t always equal happiness, when your dog gives a full-body wag with the tail held at mid-height, this is a good indication.

Don’t forget that doggie smile. When your dog’s mouth is open and relaxed, you are most likely looking at a calm and happy dog. According to research, humans and animals use the same muscles to express emotion, which includes the muscles that form a smile.

As Charles Darwin wrote so poignantly over 100 years ago, “But man himself cannot express love and humility by external signs so plainly as does a dog, when with drooping ears, hanging lips, flexuous body and wagging tail, he meets his beloved master. Nor can these movements in the dog be explained by acts of volition or necessary instincts, any more than the beaming eyes and smiling cheeks of a man when he meets an old friend.”