Does your dog make you laugh? Does he get up to some amazingly funny antics which put a smile on your face? It's got to be said, our canine friends can be pretty funny sometimes. It often seems they know and understand just exactly what they have to do to have us gripping our sides with laughter.
Have you just laughed at your dog when he cocked his ears at a strange angle and looked at you with those big doe eyes? It's impossible not to, isn't it? Or did you find him laying upside down on the sofa, snoring for all he was worth? It doesn't matter which way you look at it, dogs really are pure entertainment on four legs.
So what it is about dogs that make us laugh?
The Root of the Behavior
Dogs have some amazing characteristics which for us humans are naturally amusing. You don't even need to dress a dog up in a clown costume or any other fancy dress for them to be able to put a smile on a child's or even an adult's face. It's those funny things they do, those little quirky characteristics, that make them so adorably lovable and funny with it.
Dogs respond to human attention. If they happen to do something which makes you focus on them, they're clever enough to milk the moment for all it's worth. Don't think for one moment they're not aware of the effect they're having on you because they are. When your dog gives you that cheeky, cock-eared expression or utters a few warbling syllables as a response to you telling him to get off the bed and you tell him, "you're so cute" and he hears the love and affection in your voice. The only way he is going to respond to that is by doing it some more.
One of the most amusing things about dogs is when they inadvertently copy a human trait. If your dog likes to burst into song when certain music is played in close vicinity, you'll probably have laughed along as he's howled his way through a rendition of whatever tune has spurred him to musical ambition. It's that audience encouragement you're giving him which keeps him hitting the high notes. As any prospective star would, he just loves all the attention you're giving him.
If you've ever watched your dog trying to accomplish the impossible, fail, but still get up and have another go, you've probably laughed at his, well, excuse the pun, doggedness. He might have been chasing a ball, overshot the lawn and ended up in a flower bed or skidded across the kitchen tiles and landed head first in his water bowl. Just like Charlie Chaplin slipping on a banana skin, it's often the silly mishaps that happen in all innocence which send us into fits of giggles. Dogs make us laugh because they just are endearingly lovable and funny with it.
Encouraging the Behavior
Dogs love attention (don't we all), but their need for it can escalate and get completely out of hand. Every time you laugh at your pup's silly antics, you are, in reality, feeding his need to be the center of your attention. He wants you to focus on him and him alone. If he knows you'll do that when he starts howling because you think his singing is funny, even if you try ignoring him, he could well turn into the doggy version of Pavarotti which is not going to endear you with the next door neighbors.
Dogs are by nature emotional creatures and possibly much more so than what we give them credit for. Do they feel embarrassment and humiliation? If you've ever seen your dog go and hide out of sight because he's done something silly and you've laughed at him, then you're probably right in surmising they might. Although some pups, like people, are natural clowns, others really don't appreciate being laughed at. Yes, they really can be that sensitive. If your dog is one of those whose ears droop and he lowers his head when you laugh at him, it could be you're unconsciously undermining his self-confidence which could lead to him suffering from anxiety problems.
Other Solutions and Considerations
It's quite a current trend for pet owners to dress their dogs in all sorts of comical outfits. Dogs dressed as hot dogs, pirates, Marvel superheroes, or any one of the other million variations on the market can make us laugh. Some dogs love it, but some dogs don't. If your dog is uncomfortable wearing clothes, you might want to consider he's happier the way Nature intended and leave them at the store. If you feel your dog is seeking too much attention, you may want to consider consulting a professional dog trainer who will be able to advise you on some great methods for refocusing his demanding nature.
Your dog really can make you laugh. Their unique personalities and often very unusual habits are amusing. While they may seem to be a bundle of innocent cuteness, just imagine what they would say if they could talk. They would probably be even funnier, know some really good jokes, and be great as stand up comedians.