I am often taken how some dogs look really happy and decided to try and find out if dogs could actually laugh. Studies carried out by animal behaviourist Patricia Simonet, who sadly passed away in 2010, resulted in Simonet being recognised as the researcher who 'discovered' dog laughter.
Through analysis of recordings taken of dogs playing, Simonet found that a 'forced breathy exalation through the mouth' of dogs at play could be defined as 'dog laughter' as opposed to simple panting. Interestingly, in 2005 Simonet carried out a study on shelter dogs and found that playing recordings of 'dog laughter' had the effect of minimising stress behaviours and actually lead to smiling and laughter in the shelter dogs!
Patricia Simonet's work was so valued that she was posthumously honoured in Spokane County USA in 2010 with the renaming of a local dog park, which is now known as the Patricia Simonet Laughing Dog Park.
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