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Can Dogs Laugh?

Can Dogs Laugh?

I love sharing pure, all-around good news, so as you can imagine, I was thrilled to learn that,


Dogs can laugh.

Many dog behavior experts have observed a short, hard panting sound that dogs make as they greet humans and other dogs and initiate playtime. A sort of “Heh heh heh!”

They typically make this noise with a wide, open grin.

If you listen closely, you may have noticed it, too.

Your dog might laugh as she bows to invite you or other dogs to play. Some dogs do it when they’re being cuddled or tickled.

Dogs Make Each Other Laugh

In a 2001 study, researchers recorded dogs laughing.

Then, they played back long recordings of dog laughs to a shelter full of stressed dogs and puppies.

As the tapes were played, the shelter residents showed significantly fewer signs of stress. Many of the dogs and puppies began to bounce around, and responded with laughs of their own.

It’s also been observed that if you whisper at your dog as you imitate the famous play-bow, you’ll be more successful at getting your dog to play.

That Time Cow Laughed With Her Entire Being

Cow laughing at the dollar store - Can #dogs laugh? It turns out, they can!Learning about dog laughter has made me remember a beautiful memory I’ve had with Cow.

Back when she still belonged to my former landlord, the property we lived on was not fully fenced.

Every time I went for a walk, she would follow me, and there was little I could do about it. As time went on, I began to carry a leash and would leash her up shortly after we left the property, but this was before then.

So, I would sometimes find myself walking with an off-leash Cow. We lived in a semi-rural area. I knew it was a little dangerous, but it wasn’t that unusual.

Anyway, here’s what happened.

One day, I left Matilda at home and went for a walk to the dollar store down the block.

Of course, Cow followed.

She walked politely by my side the whole way. When we approached the dollar store, she stood at the doorway, but did not enter.

I went inside and began to select items. I was pretty absorbed in what I was doing when I heard her loud, feminine bark, “Woof!”

I looked up, and there she was, at the end of the aisle inside the store.

“Shhh!!” I said.

She laughed with her whole body, panting and grinning and wiggling and wagging her stump.

She laughed as though to say, “I’m a dog in a dollar store! Hahaha!!! I’m a dog in a store!”

Her laugh was infectious, I couldn’t help but laugh myself.

I lead her out, asked her to stay outside, and finished my purchase. Then, we laughed all the way home.

Do Dogs Laugh Like Humans?

The "play bow" in action

Face down, butt up, that’s the way we like to… play!

From the study alone, I wouldn’t think that dogs laughed at jokes. I’d question whether or not we could call that breathy call to play a true “laugh.”

And yet, I think dogs can laugh at jokes.

I’m certain that Cow found it amusing that she had entered the store so easily. She’s normally happy to see me, but this was different. As a roaming dog, she has probably been shooed away from stores, and may have never even had the confidence to attempt to enter until that day.

She overcame her inhibitions because she wanted to see where I had gone. She went to no-dog’s-land, and probably felt very pleased with herself.

“I’m a dog in a dollar store!!” What a simple, wonderful little joke.

Have You Heard Your Dog Laugh?

I’d love to hear more stories of dogs laughing.

I’ve been trying to find recordings with no success. But I have noticed that my dogs respond to me when I imitate a dog’s play laugh, especially when I get on the floor with a toy and play-bow like a damn fool. I highly recommend it.

Take time to laugh with your dog today!

Can #Dogs Laugh? Yes! Dogs laugh to initiate play, and when the recordings of dog laughter are played back to stressed shelter dogs, the results are remarkable.

Lindsay Pevny
Lindsay Pevny lives to help pet parents make the very best choices for their pets by providing actionable, science-based training and care tips and insightful pet product reviews.

She also uses her pet copywriting business to make sure the best pet products and services get found online through catchy copy and fun, informative blog posts. She also provides product description writing services for ecommerce companies.

As a dog mom to Matilda and Cow, she spends most of her days taking long walks and practicing new tricks, and most nights trying to make the best of a very modest portion of her bed.

You'll also find her baking bread and making homemade pizza, laughing, painting and shopping.

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Monday 10th of February 2020

So you can actually find a 1 second clip of the laughing here:

For more, you'll have to spend $20 to get a CD. The Amazon listing has been removed, so purchase it at your own risk.

Lindsay Pevny

Wednesday 12th of February 2020

I also used to play this youtube video of dogs playing when I left my dogs alone, I can definitely hear lots of laughs in it.

Lindsay Pevny

Tuesday 11th of February 2020

Thanks for this!

Anxious Dog? Learn To Play The Stress Away! - Little Dog Tips

Friday 17th of January 2020

[…] But something lights up in both of them when I start rustling up the toys. Or, I’ll sort of pat the couch like a play-bow, and huff as though imitating a dog’s laughter. […]

Dog Won’t Play With Their Toys? Here’s What To Do

Saturday 21st of April 2018

[…] The easiest way to do this is to get on the floor and act like a dog. Toss a toy around, throw it, and lunge after it as though it’s the best thing ever. Imitate doggy play postures and laughing sounds. […]

Dog Won't Play With Their Toys? Here's What To Do - Little Dog Tips

Tuesday 23rd of January 2018

[…] The easiest way to do this is to get on the floor and act like a dog. Toss a toy around, throw it, and lunge after it as though it’s the best thing ever. Imitate doggy play postures and laughing sounds. […]

The Language Of Dog Barks: How Dogs Learned To Talk To Us - Little Dog Tips

Friday 24th of February 2017

[…] of my favorite blog posts is Can Dogs Laugh? in which I share that time Cow, in her former, free-roaming life, followed me into a dollar store. […]

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