It might be a question that has perplexed pet owners and animal lovers for decades. Do dogs think things are funny?
In a very real sense, dogs are creatures of the moment. They live their lives in the here and now, without much thought to the past or future. In this way, they’re not unlike children.
The answer is yes, but not in the way that humans do. Dogs don’t appreciate the meaning behind words, actions or jokes.
Instead, the canines laugh because they see you laughing. In fact, they may even laugh when they are nervous.
Laughter is a social sound, meant to signal other animals that everything is okay. The sound of human laughter comes from a shortening and quickening of the breath during speech.
Dogs produce their own unique laugh by making a similar sound with their breath. This barking-laughing hybrid is adorable and infectious.
Dogs tend to laugh when they’re playing. This is not the same thing as humans laughing, but it’s similar. A dog will make a distinctive panting sound when it’s playing.
This is not the same kind of panting that a dog does when it’s overheated or tired. Dogs don’t usually laugh while they’re playing with other dogs, but they will laugh when playing with humans and other animals.
Humans tend to laugh when they’re nervous or anxious. In dogs, this is more likely to be an expression of excitement.
It may also be a sign that the dog is trying to appease whoever else is around, especially if the dog knows that someone doesn’t like it very much.
Dogs have been shown to understand human speech and body language better than any other animal except for chimpanzees and some parrots. There are several studies that show dogs laugh in situations where humans would also laugh if they were in the same situation.
Dogs do think things are funny, just like humans do. The difference is that dogs think everything is funny, while humans mostly only think certain things are funny.
Dogs appreciate humor, or at least they respond to it. They don’t know what it means to be funny, but they do know that tickling is fun and being chased is scary.
It’s possible to take advantage of this knowledge by combining the two – by pretending to chase them, for instance, and then making a joke about it.
But what if you just want to tell them a joke? Some dogs will laugh when you tickle them, but a laughing dog doesn’t mean that they think you’re funny.
It simply means that you’re stimulating a ticklish spot on their body, this is why your dog will unlikely understand your banters.
Do dogs know when they make you laugh?
Have you ever laughed at something that your dog did? Of course you have! You’re only human. But have you ever wondered whether the dog knew you were laughing?
Well, some researchers decided to find out. They conducted an experiment with 16 pet dogs and their owners.
First, they recorded the sounds of the owners laughing.
Then, they played back those recordings while simultaneously providing the dogs with a treat.
After repeating this process several times, they played back the sounds of laughter again but didn’t provide any treats.
If your dog is familiar with the sound of your laughter it would be natural for him to associate that sound with good things like treats or playtime.
Therefore, when he heard your laughter during the experiment without receiving a treat he might have been confused or even a little upset.
The results of this experiment showed that dogs looked toward their owners more often when their owners’ laughter was played without a treat than when other people’s laughter was played without a treat.
This suggests that dogs do recognize their owners’ laughter and expect something good to happen when they hear it. This is in line with what we know about how dogs learn through association.
Dogs are very good at picking up on human body language, so it makes sense that they would also be able to understand our emotions.
And since laughter is an emotion, it’s even possible that dogs can sense when we’re happy and laughing just by looking at us or hearing us laugh out loud.
Do dogs want to please their owners?
Dogs appear to have a good sense of when their behavior is pleasing us, but it’s not clear that they know why.
In the last section, we talked about how dogs respond to human facial expressions and vocalizations. These are important social signals, and dogs seem to be primed to respond to them. But the dogs will also try to read your body language for cues about what you like.
Dogs will engage in behaviors that get attention — even if it’s negative attention — but they also make an effort to do things that people like.
In one study, researchers tested this idea by giving dog owners some treats, then turning their backs on the dog and pretending to eat the treat themselves.
The owners were told not to give the treat to the dog during this time. Some of the dogs tried to steal the treats, but others waited patiently until their owners turned around and gave them permission before eating their food.
This latter group of dogs had learned that they could get more food by waiting patiently than by trying to steal it, because their owners would reward them with an extra treat for waiting instead of stealing (remember all those times you rewarded your dog for sitting patiently while you ate?).
Dogs want to gain things in life. They want to get rewards, like food or toys. And they want to avoid punishment. In some cases, an owner can be associated with a reward or a punishment.
So in that sense, dogs are pleasing their owners when they do something that earns them a treat or avoids them a scolding.
But most of the time, dogs don’t think in terms of pleasing or displeasing an owner. Instead, they think along the lines of “What will happen if I do this?”
Dogs don’t have a sense of morality the way we humans do. They don’t sit around thinking about whether they’re being good boys or girls.
The idea of doing something just to please us simply doesn’t make sense to them on an instinctual level.
That’s not to say dogs don’t enjoy making us happy! Of course they do. It’s just not their primary motivation for doing anything.
What do dogs think is fun?
Dogs are happy animals, and they love to laugh. Not only do they enjoy laughing with us humans, but they also enjoy laughing at us. Dogs don’t always understand what is happening around them, so when something happens that seems strange to them, it can be amusing.
The next time your dog does something that makes you laugh, think about telling him what he did. He’ll appreciate the attention and will probably want to do more of whatever it was that he did that made you laugh.
Here are some things dogs find funny:
- Breaking wind – Dogs love fart jokes. They like the sound and smell of their own farts, but they also enjoy the reaction from humans who don’t like them!
- Bumping into things – Dogs find it funny when they run into things (like tables) because they don’t realize what’s going on until after it happens.
- Playing dead – Dogs love playing dead because it makes people laugh at them.
- Rolling over – This is another one that dogs love because people react by laughing at them.
- Walking on the Grass – The grass is greener, they say, but there’s another reason why dogs love to walk on grass. It feels good on their bare paws! It’s also one of the reasons why puppies love to roll around on the ground in a new place — they’re exploring their sensory world!
- Playing with Balls and Fetching – Dogs find balls super fun to play with, whether you throw them or roll them across the floor. At first, it may seem like they have no idea what to do with them or how to get them back to you, but eventually they learn that bringing the ball back is part of the game.The ball is a symbol of fun, which is why we use it as a toy for dogs. When a dog plays with a ball, they have much more fun than other toys because it’s something that we enjoy too.
- A game of chase – If you have a running dog, you’ve probably discovered that they don’t need much excuse to get up and go. If you run alongside your dog, especially if you do this in a park with other dogs, they will think you’re playing a game and it’s just hilarious!
- Being teased with water – I love filling up the sink with water and letting it drip out slowly onto the floor. My dog loves it too because he runs around like a maniac trying to catch the drops of water in his mouth each time it comes out of the faucet. The funniest part for me is watching him run around getting progressively wetter as he gets more desperate to catch each drip!
- Squeaky Toys – Squeaky toys are another favorite for dogs because of the noise they make when chewed on, surprisingly it is also something that dogs find very relaxing
how do you know when a dog is laughing?
When your dog is laughing, you may notice that his eyes narrow slightly, become more squinted, and his pupils become smaller. His mouth opens slightly and you may even hear a panting or squeaky sound.
Sometimes, as he laughs and plays, he may seem to forget himself, getting into the moment so completely that he urinates or defecates. This is a very edge case, but a very good sign too! It means that he has completely forgotten about all the other distractions of life and is having fun in the moment.
When a dog is laughing, you can actually see the physical changes in their behavior. They’ll open their mouths wide and have relaxed shoulders, so they might look like they’re smiling.
Though dogs’ faces are different than ours — for example, they don’t have chins — there are some similarities to humans that allow us to interpret what a dog is experiencing.
In many ways, dogs communicate the same way we do, it’s not surprising that we interpret these behaviors as being similar to human laughter.
But dogs don’t exactly laugh like humans. Their signature panting doesn’t create the same sound that our laughs do. It’s more accurate to say that dogs experience the same type of emotion when we do, which causes them to behave in a similar way.
Dogs laugh, but not in the same way that people do. Dogs use a play “pant” that is part of their normal breathing when relaxed. This pant is often accompanied by a smile that exposes the teeth. The play “pant” has a faster-than-normal pace (1.5 to 2 times faster than normal), used when dogs are playing or are otherwise excited.
If you want to know if your dog is laughing, pay attention to other body language signs like a raised head, raised tail, and a forward stance. Even if you can’t hear the panting noise, the body language will be the same whether they are panting due to stress or excitement
The vocalization of a dog’s laugh has been recorded and has been shown to be similar in pitch and frequency as human laughter. Researchers have even found that 10 to 15 minutes of daily dog laughter can help lower blood pressure and reduce stress levels in humans.
Can dogs think things are weird?
If you’re a dog owner, you know how it feels to be judged. The disapproving glances of people as you struggle to hold your dog back from jumping on them.
The disdainful looks of other dogs when yours goes in for a sniff, or worse, a lick. And the way your dog will look at you with what seems like confusion when you do something that doesn’t make sense to them.
But can dogs really think things are weird? How do they judge us and their fellow canines?
The first step to understanding the question is to define what we mean by “weird”. When we see something weird in a human or another animal, we recognise it because it doesn’t fit our expectations – it’s not what is usually seen in that species.
Most dogs will expect to see other dogs around them, so when they see another species they don’t classify as a dog, they might pause and think “That looks weird! What is it?”
Some dogs have a rich inner life and seem a little bit obsessed with things that to us seem utterly mundane. Here are just a few things that dogs find weird:
Things on their head: Dogs often sense that when you put something on their head, there’s no way for them to get it off themselves.
This can cause anxiety. They don’t know what to do, but they know it feels uncomfortable. You see this mostly in dogs who haven’t had a lot of exposure to people putting things on their heads, such as hats and sunglasses.
Or maybe you’ve seen this if you’ve ever tried to put a pair of antlers on your pup for Christmas.
Shaking hands: It’s not that dogs don’t like shaking hands — they just don’t know why you want them to do it. Dogs just want to give you what you want. But when you ask them to shake hands, and all of a sudden, you’re saying “Good boy!” and giving them treats, they think that shaking hands is the one thing they have to do in order to get treats from humans!
Wearing clothes or costumes: Some dogs do just fine wearing jackets or costumes, but others despise it. Most of the time, it’s because the costume is uncomfortable or unfamiliar with.
These were just a few examples of what dogs might find weird.