And what does it mean when your dog is licking his balls?
An animal behaviorist says she’s figured out what dogs are doing when they make that excited panting noise while playing or anticipating a much desired walk. They’re laughing.
Patricia Simonet, development and program coordinator for Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service, also found that the sound of dog laughter comforts other dogs. When she played a recording of “play panting” through the speaker system at a shelter in Spokane Valley, all the barking dogs quieted within a minute.
“I wanted to see if I could reduce (the dogs’) stress by playing the sound in the shelter,” Simonet said. “I was surprised when they were calm and quiet.”
Simonet, who will soon complete a doctorate in animal behavior from Northcentral University in Prescott, Ariz., presented her study on reducing shelter dogs’ stress at the International Conference on Environmental Enrichment last summer at Columbia University in New York.