These come from the latest research and experts who study the ways in which animals communicate. For instance:
- Dogs do laugh! The telltale sign? A pant that's longer and louder than usual. That's according to researchers at Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service. In fact, one dog's laugh has the power to soothe other anxious dogs. The researchers tested it out by using a loudspeaker to play plain old dog panting. When they did that, the rest of the dogs at the animal shelter ignored it and kept right on barking. When they played the version of "dog laughter," within a minute, all 15 barking dogs were quiet. In fact, they tested the sound over and over and it worked every time. In another test, if the "laugh" was played while another dog or person was in the room, a puppy would often pick up a toy or trot toward a playmate.
- So how does your dog communicate confusion? He cocks his head to one side.
- What about love? A dog expresses his love by bowing down and stretching with his front or back legs. It's called a "greeting stretch" according to the book Canine Body Language. Hounds save that stretch for those they love the most.
- On to cats. How do they say "I love you"? By using their foreheads. If your cat butts his head against your legs, he's trying to rub his scent on you - and that's how a cat communicates deep affection. It's the equivalent of a human hug.
- Cats can also communicate trust - and dogs do it the same way. By exposing their belly. It's the most vulnerable part of their body and if they show it to you, they trust you not to attack them.
- Cats also show their annoyance with their silence. Ever wonder why a cat suddenly swipes at you while you're petting her? Well, unlike dogs, cats can get over-stimulated by petting - which makes them aggressive. Before the swipe, comes silence. So if a cat stops purring, stop petting her.