Are you a comedian? Is your dog heckling you? When dogs yawn, it can be due to a range of causes, including the one that readily comes to mind: fatigue. But there are more! Your surrounding environment will help you to narrow down the motives behind your dog’s lengthy yawns. Here are a few reasons behind those expressive sighs:
It’s Contagious – It turns out that the infectious power of yawns aren’t limited to humans. Dogs are known to yawn in response to other dogs yawning. They can even answer your yawn with a yawn! Is this because our canine friends also feel the sympathetic urge to respond in kind when seeing a yawn? Some experts think that it’s just that simple. If you have multiple pups, have you ever witnessed them descend into a cascade of yawns? Or has your dog ever sent a yawn your way in response to your yawn?
If you are experiencing an irresistible urge to yawn now, after reading the word so much, find your dog now and yawn at him. If he looks at you askance and returns to his nap, your dog may have a supernatural immunity to the social pressure of yawning.
Your Dog’s a Pacifist – There’s another reason your dog may yawn, especially when they encounter excitable or aggressive dogs. If your dog sees an aggressive or nervous friend, they may yawn in response to this behavior. There are said to be a couple reasons for this
- your dog is displaying indifference to a nervous pooch
- your dog is indicating that they aren’t interested in conflict with another dominant dog
While humans may deliberately yawn to provoke another person, for dogs it’s the opposite. If your dog meets a shy fellow, they may yawn to show disinterest. This is meant to have a soothing effect. Basically, your dog is saying, I don’t want to fight. Don’t worry.
If the other dog is not so much nervous as aggressive, your dog’s yawning message changes to: I don’t want a fight. Calm down, please.
She’s Tempering Her Excitement – Have you ever made the mistake of asking your dog if they want to go for a walk or get the mail before you’re ready to do either? Dogs are always ready! So while they wait for you to put on your shoes or visit the loo, you’ve likely seen them yawn impatiently between whines and wiggles.
This kind of yawn is just what you’d expect. Your dog knows something glorious is about to happen, but it’s not happening quite yet, so she’s trying to calm her nerves. This is probably the most adorable kind of yawn, but we suggest not teasing her! Put your shoes on first, then make the announcement!
She’s Stressed Out – This is the most unfortunate kind, and it may be the most familiar. Just like how dogs yawn to reduce their levels of excitement, they also do so to reduce their stress levels. If your dog sees you packing a suitcase, you may find her sulking from room to room and sighing dramatically. She might also crack open her jaws for some long, drawn-out yawns.
Humans tend to do this, as well, and it’s usually just a form of self-regulation for stress. Don’t worry about it on its own. If your dog is performing destructive behaviors that are borne out of separation anxiety or other kinds of stress, consult your vet for methods to alleviate this conduct.
Did you yawn while reading the word “yawn” so often during this post? I know I did! Is your dog next to you? Maybe it’s time for a yawn-off! Let us know in the comments who won!