How To Un­der­stand Your Dog’s Bark, “Read” Your Dog’s Tail Po­si­tion & Make Your Dog Laugh (Re­ally)

YOUR DOG’S BARK, “READ” YOUR DOG’S TAIL & MAKE YOUR DOG LAUGH (RE­ALLY)

Modern Dog - - CONTENTS - BY STAN­LEY COREN

Do Dogs Smile?

In the minds of most peo­ple, the equiv­a­lent of a dog smil­ing is when he is wag­ging his tail. But there is ac­tu­ally one ca­nine fa­cial ex­pres­sion that comes close to what we mean by smil­ing in hu­mans. In this ex­pres­sion, slightly opened jaws re­veal the dog’s tongue lap­ping out over his front teeth. Fre­quently the eyes take on a teardrop shape at the same time, as if be­ing pulled up­ward slightly at the outer cor­ners. It is a ca­sual ex­pres­sion that is usu­ally seen when the dog is re­laxed, play­ing, or in­ter­act­ing so­cially, espe­cially with peo­ple. The mo­ment any anx­i­ety or stress is in­tro­duced, the dog’s mouth closes and you can no longer see the tongue.

Dogs are also ca­pa­ble of laugh­ing, and they typ­i­cally do so when they are play­ing. Ca­nine laugh­ter be­gins with the doggy equiv­a­lent of smil­ing but also in­cludes a sound that is much like pant­ing. Sev­eral years ago, an­i­mal be­hav­ior­ist Pa­tri­cia Si­monet at Sierra Ne­vada Col­lege by Lake Ta­hoe recorded those sounds while dogs played. On an­a­lyz­ing the record­ings, she found that they in­volved a broader range of fre­quen­cies than reg­u­lar dog pant­ing. In one ex­per­i­ment, Si­monet no­ticed that pup­pies romped for joy when they heard record­ings of these sounds; in an­other, she was able to show that these same sounds helped to calm dogs in an an­i­mal shel­ter.

How To Make Your Dog Laugh

Hu­mans can im­i­tate sounds of dog laugh­ter, but it takes con­scious mon­i­tor­ing of mouth shape to get the sound pat­tern right. Pro­duc­ing dog laugh­ter cor­rectly can make your dog sit up, wag his tail, ap­proach you from across the room, and even laugh along.

1. Round your lips slightly to make a “hhuh” sound. Note: The sound has to be breathy with no ac­tual voic­ing, mean­ing that if you touch your throat while mak­ing this sound, you should not feel any vi­bra­tion.

2. Use an open-mouthed smil­ing ex­pres­sion to make a “hhah” sound. Again, breathe the sound; do not voice it.

3. Com­bine steps one and two to cre­ate ca­nine laugh­ter. It should sound like “hhuh-hhah-hhuh-hhah.”

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