Have you ever wondered if dogs have a sense of humour? I’ve always thought they do.
My old dog Taylor, a smart Kelpie x Border Collie with a big personality, loved playing games with us. One was hide and seek with me around the front entrance of my parents’ place, where you could circle from the little foyer into the dining room, the lounge room and back into the foyer. We’d try to outwit each other – she knew to look up to catch my movement through the glass window between the foyer and dining room.
So of course I would try to duck, which slowed me down… and she was usually too quick for me. The couple of times I managed to creep up behind her, she was poised in a crouch, absolutely quivering with anticipation, trying to work out where I was. It was rare to catch her, but when I did, she jumped on me like a little kid, with a doggy expression that’s only equivalent to laughter in humans.
She also had a rubber doughnut toy that was her great love indoors. One of her favourite games was to lay it on the couch beside one of us, then wait, eyes glued to the doughnut. When we’d reach for it, she’d leap in and snatch it away just in time, then prance around flipping it in the air, ears back against her head and eyes shining with the joy of having outplayed us yet again. Again, her form of laughing.
Tillie, our big German Shepherd/Malamute/Mastiff-or-something cross, plays chicken with us on the oval. The look on her face is pure devilment as she bores down on us at a gallop, feinting and dodging aside just in time. Then there’s the playful dance around us, the ‘gotcha’ moment. She also entertains herself by scaring our chickens, suddenly bounding at them so they explode into flustered squawks. She never actually chases them, just walks off afterwards with a facial expression that can only be described as smug and satisfied.
Dogs express a lot of emotions and feelings – excitement, love, anticipation, fear, dislike, anger, pain, hate, shame, boredom. No, I don’t think this is being anthropomorphic (people seeing human characteristics in animals). You’ll be nodding along with all of the above feelings if you’ve spent enough time with dogs.
Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why so many humans love dogs, apart from their guarding abilities or their many other attributes which are useful to us (guiding, finding, rescuing, fetching, etc). Not only can we be ourselves and show all our emotions in front of them, but we can share their emotions too. Apart from the big welcome home, or the affectionate smooch, or the snuggle when you’re feeling sad or ill, there may also be a shared moment of humour. It’s a wonderful thing 🙂
Has your dog ever displayed a funny side? I’d love to hear about it!
Below is a video from three years ago when Tillie was a little more energetic and a lot rougher in play (don’t worry, Elvis is a tough little guy!):