While there are no proof-positive studies that your pooch understands and participates in canine humor, it's hard to deny that there's something particular going on with your dog's emotions. Researchers have found that dogs can laugh and express their happiness when playing with other pooches or humans.
Signs Your Dog Has a Sense of Humor
If you're not quite convinced, look out for specific signs that your pup may be giving you to signal that he not only understands your humor, but wants to play along with your joke. For example, it's not uncommon for dog's to smile at you. Dogs can even laugh, too. Unlike their usual pants that come after running, exercising, or playing, a laugh is a pattern of longer, breathier pants. These pants, according to researchers, elicit a positive response from shelter dogs when played over a recording.
Additionally, your pooch will wag his tail - the ultimate form of clownery and jest. You may also notice your pooch plays, frolics, bounds, and intrudes! These are all signs that they certainly understand that they're getting in the way and playing practical jokes on their owners.
- Head tilting
- Wag tail
- Raise ears
- Doggy dancing
- Howling, barking, or communicating
- Being bashful or playful
- Playing, frolicking, bounding around
- Panting, laughing
- Tail wag
The History of Doggy Humor
According to him, dogs show distinctions in sense of humor that are different from mere playing, implying they understand humor and the idea of a practical joke. In his example, he looks at how dogs will carry a stick a short distance back to their owner, squat down, wait for their owner to come closer, then dart away in triumph.
In short, dogs can play practical jokes on their owners, why wouldn't they be able to understand humor? It's also been proven since Darwin's time that dogs can laugh, and their laughter is associated with the same situations that make young children laugh.
The Science of Doggy Humor
Two animal behaviorists from the University of California, Davis even went as far as ranking 56 different breeds of dogs in accordance to playfulness and found the dogs that had the most playfulness and "sense of humor" were Irish Setters, English Springer Spaniels, Golden Retrievers, and Poodles. Among the lowest were Bloodhounds, Bulldogs, and Basset hounds.
More than that, the cues that we associate our dogs' humor have some science behind them. Take, for example, dog laughter. According to the Stanford University's Science News and Michigan State University reports, dog laughter is different than panting, and it was found that dog laughter, played over audio in shelters helped to calm anxious dogs and increase their confidence to interact with other people and shelter pups.
How to Train Your Pup to Keep His Humor in Check
If you're interested in making sure your pup doesn't border the line of destructive or out of line behavior, though, here are a few ways to gently encourage him to keep his playfulness light and friendly.
Enforce a life full of play with your pup, but make sure he understands commands like "drop it," "leave it," and "gentle," so that he's always easy, gentle, and sweet. If your dog gets too aggressive in his playfulness and starts to mix in signals like barking, growling, and nipping, make sure he knows that that's not a part of a humor-filled play. If he begins to do these things, leave him be for a while and ignore your pup until he's calmed down.
Make sure your dog understands that gentle, funny play means a treat and lots of praise!
How to Handle Your Dog's Humor
Roll your eyes at his intrusions, then give him a good pat on the head.
Let him play his practical jokes on you.
Smile back at him.
Encourage his playful antics.
Laugh along with him.
Tell Us All About Your Pup's Sense of Humor!
I have no doubt that my Austrailian Shepherd has a sense of humor. When my fiancee and I play tricks on each other, my dog Ruby immediately begins panting, tilts her head and wiggles over to where we are standing.