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Thread: Panting dogs are laughing dogs

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    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    Default Panting dogs are laughing dogs

    SPOKANE, Wash. Dec 12, 2005 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.

    She started researching dog sounds in 2001 at Sierra Nevada College in Lake Tahoe, where she was a professor of animal behavior. After coming to Spokane, she began studying how to make shelter dogs feel more at ease.

    Simonet and her students started by recording dogs at play. They eventually isolated the growling, whining, barking and the sound she now calls laughter.

    About a year ago, she asked Nancy Hill, director of the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS) if she could use the shelter dogs to determine the impact of dog sounds.

    When SCRAPS was closed on Sundays, she would play the tapes for the typically stressed animals.

    "This is not home for the dogs," Hill said. "She saw that and wanted to help."

    Hill said she was pleasantly surprised with the results. "I've been here for 20 years, and this is the most significant thing I've seen," she said.

    Hill is getting estimates to install a sound system that would carry the laughter throughout the SCRAPS kennels. Calming the dogs this way may even make them more presentable for adoption.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
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    Elite Member Tenaj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Panting dogs are laughing dogs

    Aww what a lovely theory! I hope its true, I will not be able to look at my Jake the same way now. I always assumed he was panting simply when he was out of breath but he does pant whilst gently playing when he wouldn't necessarily be tired, so maybe there's something in it. I hope so, how cute!

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    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    Default Re: Panting dogs are laughing dogs

    Nope, your Jake hasn't been panting 'cause he's out of breath...he's panting 'cause he's laughing at you!
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

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    Elite Member Tenaj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Panting dogs are laughing dogs

    No, he's laughing with me! There's a big difference!!

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    Elite Member Tiara's Avatar
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    Default Re: Panting dogs are laughing dogs

    My dog always pants when he's been running, I thought he was out of breath but he must just love running so much it gets him out of breath!!

    Come to think of it though, whenever you pick one of my puppies toys up he knows its play time and before he's even moved he's panting so he must be laughing with happiness!! Awwww how cute!!
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    Elite Member muchlove's Avatar
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    Default Re: Panting dogs are laughing dogs

    I think there's probably a difference between the panting they do when they've been running around, and the happy "play-panting" that she's talking about. They do get out of breath... but I think most dog owners have seen that happy, almost smiling look they get when something fun is going on and they start panting. One of my dogs used to do it when I brought out these liver treats she loved. Awww.

    Doggies. <3

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