If you have ever spent any amount of time with a dog, you know that they can be quite silly and excitable during playtime. When given the chance, dogs tend to lighten the mood in any social situation. So, it might make you wonder whether dogs actually have a sense of humor. Do they find things funny like we do? Can they play pranks on people? Do they enjoy the silliness of the games that they play? Or do they just seem to be happy and excited whenever they’re active? For one thing, dogs do have a good time when they play and interact with people and other dogs. They know what’s fun and what isn’t. Dogs also seem to display a sense of humor — or at least some of them do. While there is no solid scientific proof of such a claim, there are theories that point to the idea that dogs have a sense of humor in their own way. Here’s what you should know.
It’s All About Playfulness
It’s thought that dogs were bred to maintain a juvenile mind and thinking process, so they tend to retain a youthful sense of playfulness throughout their lives. This playfulness is considered comparable to that of a human’s sense of humor. In other words, when a dog is being playful, they are displaying their sense of humor — in theory.
Charles Darwin was the first person known to observe a dog’s sense of humor. He wrote about his observations in a book entitled, “The Descent of a Man,” which was published in 1871. He offers an example of a game of “keep away” being a display of a dog’s sense of humor.
Can Dogs Laugh?
Researchers at UCLA in California suggest that animals can laugh, though not necessarily in the same way that we humans do. These researchers found that at least 65 species of animals utilize what they refer to as vocal play. The phenomenon has been observed in dogs, cows, seals, and even mongooses. Dogs usually laugh by making sounds through forced panting while they play.
This may happen when they are trying to entice you to play a game of fetch or when they are trying to play a prank on you (like keeping a toy away from you, for example). A laughing dog may reveal their tongue and display a tilted “smile” that stretches across their face. It isn’t always obvious when a dog laughs, but when your dog is playful, grinning, and making noises while panting, they’re likely laughing.
Can Dogs Recognize When Humans Laugh?
Dogs can understand vocal and visual cues, and they pay close attention to our body language and tone. They watch our facial expressions and even keep an eye on our posture. So, they certainly can tell when we are laughing — or crying, for that matter. They understand what it means when you’re joyful and express that joy through laughter. They will likely respond with a wagging tail and playful panting (their version of laughing). If you are upset and crying, you’ll probably get a response of whining or whimpering.
Researchers, experts, and even Darwin agree that dogs seem to have a sense of humor. From acting playful when a companion gets home to hiding a slipper in a corner as a joke, many dogs find a variety of ways to display their humor. It’s up to us to keep an open mind and pay attention to our furry family members if we want to catch it!
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