Can Dogs Find Things Funny?

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Introduction

Have you ever been having the time of your life with your doggo, laughing and playing, and wondered — does my pup also think this is funny? Or have you ever wondered if your silly, little pup is trying to make you laugh? 

The answer to both questions is YES. Dogs have the ability to find humor in a situation. Your pup can both recognize humor when you are being funny with them, and do things that they think you might find funny. Scientists have even found that our pups laugh!

Scroll down to learn more about your pupper's sense of humor.

Signs Your Dog Thinks Something is Funny

Among many other behaviors, your pup’s laugh sound depends on their breed. There are some common signs that your dog is laughing that seems to be found across all dog breeds, though. They usually have a big ole smile on their beautiful face. Specifically, they will have a “head up, toothy broad-mouth, sparkling [eye], and a chuffing pant.” They might also wag their tail and wiggle their adorable little butt.

Dogs also do things to make us laugh. They might take our things, like a sock or an item of food, and run off with it before bringing it back. That’s them saying “Hi, let’s play please!!” They also might roll around on the ground and act super-silly to try and make you laugh.

Your pup can also show their sense of humor by getting right up in your face. Often times, they'll take their doggo self and lay on you, putting their face as close to yours as possible. They also might enjoy playing a little bit of hide-and-seek when they are feeling humorous. Once you start engaging with your adorable, little pup, pay attention to those huff and puff noises that they make. These are their genuine laughs that they have from playing around with their fur parents! 

Body Language

If you think your pup may have found something funny, watch for the following:
  • Barking
  • Panting
  • Wag tail
  • Play bowing

Other Signs

Other things to watch for include:
  • Butt-Wiggling
  • Chuffing Pant
  • Head Facing Up
  • Big Smile

Science Behind Dogs Finding Things Funny

For decades, researchers have believed that dogs cannot laugh, as it was believed to be a uniquely human quality. More modern research has found to prove these scientists wrong. Studies have shown that doggos can, in fact, find something funny and have a good laugh! It often happens during playtime, like when they’re getting silly with fetch or getting tickled by us.

Patricia Simonet, a researcher at Sierra Nevada College, published a study on the sound of laughter in dogs. She studied the sounds dogs make while playing fetch. In this research, she found that when dogs laugh, they make a noise that we mistake for panting—kind of an “Huuuuuh, huuuuh” noise. She even found that when humans imitate this sound, it can calm the nerves of your pup and help with puppy anxiety. 

Try it out for yourself with your fur friend! 

Making Your Dog Laugh

One way to make your pup laugh is to give out a puppy laugh yourself! In order to do that, you need to round your mouth and make a breathy "hhuuhh" sound. While doing this, smile widely at your pup and repeat the breathy sound. Like humans, dogs find laughter contagious so this will get the giggles going with them. 

Another way to make your dog laugh is by playing around with them! Play their favorite game with them, whether that be fetch, tug of war, or something else. If they're having a good time, they'll let out an adorable, huffy, laugh. You can also act silly with them by chasing them, hiding their favorite toy, or playing a little bit of puppy wrestle. 

The bottom line is that if your dog is having a great time, regardless of what you're doing, you're likely to hear that adorable, wheezy laugh coming from them. 

How to React to Your Dog Finding Something Funny:

  • Try to pinpoint what exactly has tickled their funny bone.
  • If you identify what is causing them to laugh, use it in the future to brighten their day.
  • Laugh with your pooch!
Duke
4 Years
American Bulldog
Definitely Laughing!
Signs

Whenever we play fetch-wrestle (I throw the frisbee and then have to wrestle it from him) he makes almost all the signs, especially smiling and butt wiggles

3 months, 3 weeks ago