Can dogs find things funny?


Can Dogs Find Things Funny?

If you and your canine friend have gelled really well together, then you might have already shared a laugh or two. 

We’re not even speaking figuratively here. Dogs really do laugh. 

Thanks to research made back in 2001, we know that canine laughter is real. 

If dogs indeed have a sense of humor, then what are the things that they find humorous? 

Fellow dog lovers, we hear you.

So let’s get to the bottom of your mind-tickling question and find out,

  • Whether dogs find things funny
  • What dogs find funny
  • Whether they understand people’s laughter
  • Whether dogs smile
  • And more…

Can dogs find things funny?

Yes, dogs can find things funny. Thousands of years ago, people have already observed a sense of humor in dogs. Charles Darwin noted in his writing that dogs can link cause and effect, which implies dogs have an active memory or awareness. 

Well, some found Darwin’s theories a laughing matter.  

But if we think about it, dogs have such a long history with humans. So it’s not surprising that they have somehow evolved to be much more “human-like” than we thought. 

Dogs have shared homes with people. It makes sense how they have developed some form of language signals to communicate with their owners. 

Whether it be in the form of a quirky antic, a sad stare, a smiley face, or a burst of breathy laughter!

Picture this. Your dog’s mouth is wide open, tongue hanging out, eyes eager, and the sides of the snout are curled up. That facial expression is accompanied by fast and breathy panting. 

Yep, that’s right. That’s a doggy laugh. 

Now the mind-boggling question remains…

If dogs indeed laugh, what do pooches find laugh-worthy?

What do dogs find funny?

Things that dogs find funny are, in fact, pretty obvious, especially if you’ve owned a dog all your life. A laughing dog is a jolly and excited dog. So what makes them happy? 

  • Their owner
  • Mental stimulation
  • Silly tricks
  • Playtimes 
  • Dog toys
  • Acts of love
  • Their own tricks
  • Other dogs
  • Tickles
  • Your laughter

10 Things Dogs Find Funny

#1: Dogs find you funny

If there is something that dogs find the funniest, that’s none other than you! It’s not because you look funny, but it’s because you are the apple of their eye. Awww.

You are your pet’s favorite person. They get super excited when they see you after work.

They jump with joy. And often, those jumps are accompanied by enthusiastic panting out of happiness to see you back home.

So the next time your dog greets you at the door (panting and all), why don’t you smile or laugh back? 

What better way to release stress after a long day than sharing a laugh with your canine buddy.

#2: Mental stimulation

Mental stimulation makes dogs very happy. 

There are plenty of ways to stimulate your dog’s mind. 

You can teach dogs a new trick. Let them meet new people. Allow them to smell the flowers. 

Let your pets discover for themselves that it hurts when they mess with a cactus.

Or take them swimming in the summer! 

Those activities are great ways to get your dog’s brain working.

#3: Their own tricks

If you think that you are the only one who can pull a trick on your dog, think again. 

According to Darwin, do you know that our beloved four-legged companions can play a practical joke on their favorite people?

He noted that if you throw a stick, your dog carries it not so far away, then sits on it, and waits for his owner to come close to take the stick away. 

But then, instead of allowing his owner to get the stick, he seizes it and runs away in triumph, obviously enjoying his prank.

Now that’s what you call doggy humor.

#4: Playtimes

A game shared with you is not only funny but memorable to dogs. Any form of play makes dogs excited.

A simple game of fetch or tug-of-war will surely bring out tons of breathy laughter from your dogs!

Why don’t you fill their bowl with water before playtime? Playing and laughing at the same time?

That will make them really thirsty. 

#5: Dog toys

Dogs appreciate toys a lot. 

Old or new alike, dog toys help stimulate your dog’s brain and exercise their muscles. 

Of course, a toy becomes much funnier and enjoyable if you play with your dog. Pets know that playing alone is not fun… let alone funny.

#6: Acts of love

Belly rubs, head pats, sofa cuddles… these little affectionate acts can also draw some hearty peals of laughter from your pet. 

Any intimate interaction with you brings them so much joy.

If your dog is naturally playful and you reinforce that by giving them lots of attention and lovey-dovey time, expect some belly chuckles.

#7: Silly tricks

You playing any sort of trick will make you the funniest human in their eyes. It might be easier to make dogs laugh than make a toddler smile. 

Pretending to chase your dog or throw a stick will surely elicit some pretty good laughter from your doggy.

#8: Other dogs

Dogs love to make friends. 

It seems to be one of the most natural traits dogs have. Unless they’re around aggressive doggos, our canine pets are typically friendly with fellow dogs.

Playing, running, and chasing other dogs are a treat that would bring a smile to dogs’ faces. And doggie giggles, of course!

#9 Tickles

Dogs find your tickles funny. If you’ve rubbed or tickled your doggie’s tummy before, by now, you would have already mastered the art of making your dog laugh or smile. 

One of the surefire ways to bring out a smile or laughter from dogs is tickling them!

#10 Your laughter

Dogs respond to their owner. They even mirror their people’s behaviors and personalities.

They can pick up happy or sad signals. They know how you feel and respond or adjust accordingly. Awesome right?

The next time you let out a boisterous laugh, don’t be surprised if your dog comes up to you and starts panting… err laughing!

Do dogs understand human laughter?

Yes, dogs understand human laughter in their own doggy way. When you laugh in their company, your canine friend would likely see you as playful. They will pick up your laugh as a signal that you’re ready to throw a ball or cuddle. Either way should get some hearty pants from your dog!

Do dogs laugh when tickled?

Yes, dogs laugh when tickled. They may let out some heavy panting as a sign that your dog enjoys playful cuddles. You’ll most likely get a nip here and there, signaling they want the tickling (aka playing) to go on forever. But yes, our canine buddies can be ticklish, but they don’t dislike tickles.

Is my dog smiling or panting?

Your dog could be doing both, smiling while panting. Typically, panting is a normal occurrence in healthy and happy dogs. Often, a panting dog is equivalent to a laughing dog or an excited dog. So expect your pet to be smiling simultaneously as it is panting. 

If you think your dog could be panting way excessively, pay attention to other symptoms. Check if your dog has any other medical conditions that could have caused the unusual panting.

Why do dogs smile with teeth?

Dogs smile with teeth because they grin when relaxed. If they do, they could be panting too! A tensed dog closes its mouth or pants heavily but offensively. 

Your dog lets out a growl with a wrinkled snout, exposing the front teeth. But minus the tension, your dog should be fine and grinning.

On another thought, it would be lovely to think that our dogs smile consciously – with mouths wide open and panting. 

However, it can be easy to misinterpret or anthropomorphize our dog’s behaviors. Because we love our pets so much, we sometimes tend to give our dogs “human features”.

No worries – we’re all on the same boat!

Let’s decipher what those “smiles” could really mean.

5 Reasons Behind The Toothy Smiles

#1: Excitement

Animal experts tend to associate canine grin or laughter with excitement and happiness. Unless otherwise, they show tensed body movements and behaviors. 

With dogs, we get what we see. 

They are just cheerful and eager dogs when we see them “smile”. 

#2: Relaxed and pleased

Have you ever seen your dog “smiling” teeth and all when you’re belly rubbing him or her? 

Yes, that’s a super pleased and happy doggy right there.

Often, dogs’ ears are pulled back and their limbs up, exposing themselves to their owner. 

#3: Act of canine submission

According to a known dog trainer and author, a dog’s “play face” is a canine version of a smile. 

She says a doggy grin could also indicate a “guilty face,” as shown in this hilarious video.

#4: Reinforced trick

Dogs, as we know, are smart. Some dogs have learned how to grin when their owners tell them so. Another dog behaviorist says that dogs are somehow experts at “owner manipulation”. 

Not that they have bad intentions when doing so. It’s merely a part of the complex dog-evolution process. 

So the next time your dog gleefully smiles at you (tongue out, squinty eyes and all), you are correct to assume that your fur baby is “charming” and most likely asks you for something good. 

Maybe a yummy treat? A quick play fetch?

#5: Domestication and neoteny in dogs

A dog-owner relationship is similar to a classic love story. 

It starts with meeting each other, growing together, and soon developing a deep sense of familiarity and attachment. 

Complex as it sounds, it’s really just domestication and/or neoteny in dogs. It all boils down to the whole “adaptation” process. They live with you, adapt, evolve as they see fit to successfully cohabitate with their human owners.

That’s a classic domesticated doggy feature. Dogs are good at meeting their owners’ wants to get what they want.

Dogs and humans alike, we are all complex creatures. We all have our own sets of traits, personalities, feelings, and experiences. 

At the end of the day, scientific stuff doesn’t really matter. 

We only want to see our dogs happy and smiling!

How To Tell When Your Dog is Smiling At You

Do dogs express emotion on their face? It’s debated but I think so. It does take time to learn how to read their facial expressions and facial movements. When you figure this out you’ll know what mood he or she may be feeling including happiness. 

Andrew

I am a dog trainer and passionate about canine health and behavior problems. I train dogs of all ages but specialize in training dogs with behavioral issues such as aggression or anxiety. My favorite part of my job is watching the transformation that takes place when an owner starts to understand their pet’s needs and how to meet them.

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