Dogs also seem to have fun and enjoy hanging out with us. Therefore, it makes sense for many dog owners to ask if dogs can laugh or smile. Read on to find out the answer!
Can dogs laugh?
There is much debate among animal behaviorists about it, but most agree that dogs cannot laugh. At least not in the sense that people can laugh.
However, dogs can make a sound that resembles a laugh, which they usually do while playing. It is caused by a breathless wheezing that is being exhaled violently. It is viewed more as play pants than dog laughs, and dogs use it to invite people and other dogs to play. Several species of animals have been observed to play pants, including primates. Dog play pants are combined with a body language that invites you to play, e.g. For example, playing bows, a paw reaching for you, or teasing jumps with a relaxed demeanor.
Animal behaviorist Patricia Simonet At Sierra Nevada College, dogs were admitted to hearing these playing pants and were found to have a wider frequency range than the typical wheezing of dogs. She concluded that this meant it could be viewed as a kind of dog laugh.
Simonet then played the dog laughing recordings for puppies and found that they became very active hearing the noises. The footage also seemed to calm dogs in kennels.
Other animals can appear to be laughing
For a long time we thought that only people could laugh. However, research In non-human primate behavior, chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans have been shown to use a game pants laugh when tickling, and other research Chimpanzees found that they can smile just like humans. Various studies have also shown that domesticated rats make a high pitched sound when tickled, very similar to human laughter.
There is still a lot to study in this area, and there may be other discoveries that change our perception of whether dogs can laugh.
What does a dog laugh like?
All laughter is a sound made by exhaling and inhaling air. Human laughter arises when the chest muscles push air out of the chest and thus create a vocal, spoken “ha ha” sound. Dog laughter is created by panting without any vocalization, which creates a “hhuh hhah” sound.
Some dog owners want to try mimicking dogs’ laughter in order to bond with their dogs. Do this by making slightly rounded lips for the “hhuh” tone, then open your mouth and smile slightly for the “hhah” tone and switch between the two. The sound should be breathless without actually making any noise – think of a gasp. Some dog owners claim that their dogs respond by sitting up, wagging their tails, and approaching to examine the noise.
Can dogs smile?
There are a lot of pictures on social media of dogs that appear to be grinning, but it seems that, much like laughing, dogs may not smile as much as humans.
Dogs can make their faces smile, however. This happens when they open their mouths, pull back their lips, and place their tongue over their teeth. This “dog smile” usually occurs in situations where they are relaxed and appear happy, which is why dog owners think it is a smile.
This “dog smile” often occurs as a reaction to a human smile, which is known as the laugh contagion. Dogs seem to smile because we smile at them.
How do you know if your dog is happy?
If dogs can’t laugh or smile like humans, how do they show happiness? Many people think that dogs wag their tails to show happiness, but this is not necessarily true. Dogs use their tails for a variety of communications and the message depends on the position of the tail.
A neutral position where the tail is naturally held for the breed means the dog is relaxed. When dogs drop their tails into a lower position, it is a sign of submission and fear. And when they raise their tails in the air, that is an aggressive or dominant move. Tail wagging is associated with excitement.
Instead of focusing on whether your dog is smiling or laughing, it makes more sense to look at the dog’s body language and actions to determine if he is happy. You can examine the whole body for signs such as a wagging tail, an open mouth, and a relaxed posture.
Read more about Dog body language with our knowledgeable guide.
Ideas to make your dog happy
Here are some ideas to keep your dog happy and healthy: