As an owner, you can easily learn to read his body language, including when he yawns. Yawning can have multiple meanings for your dog, but careful observation can help you distinguish how your dog is feeling. Have you ever noticed what is going on around him when your dog yawns? Did you wonder what your dog wanted to say to you?
When your dog yawns, it appears to be just like a human yawn. For this reason, most people will associate yawning with fatigue. Actually, your dog most often yawns as a form of canine communication. In the information that follows, you will find the most common and accepted reasons for your dog to yawn.
Dogs yawn when see other dogs or humans yawn.
When one person yawns, others in the room often yawn involuntarily, especially when those people are familiar with the person due to the fact that yawns are so ‘contagious’. A recent study discovered that dogs also find yawning to be quite contagious, not only from other dogs but also from humans. Dogs are more likely to yawn with someone they are emotionally bonded with. Have you noticed that when you are yawning, your dog follows suit? Sometimes, it is in the simplest situations when you will see your dog yawn.
Dogs yawn when they are nervous or under stress.
Many observations of canine behavior has shown that dogs were more likely to yawn when they were under stress. For example, your dog might yawn constantly when he is on the veterinarian’s observation table for an annual examination. In dog obedience training classes, your dog might yawn while you are scolding him for something he has or has not done correctly. In this situation, your dog may want to tell you by he is tense or anxious, or ask you not to be angry with him.
It is common to see dogs yawning to express their feelings when they are under stress during dog training. Owners should use a friendlier and gentler tone of voice when speaking commands, in an effort to help relieve their dogs’ stress. As the dog begins to calm down, the yawning behavior will gradually disappear.
Dogs will yawn when they are confused.
When your dog is confused, he will yawn as a response to you because he knows you want him to do something, but he is uncertain of what that is. For example, when you are training your dog to ‘shake hands’ with you, he may not understand what the words mean. This will result in the dog yawning to show you his confusion.
By recognizing the meaning of your dog’s yawn, you can alleviate the dog’s confusion and the training can be more productive once he can associate the word “shake” to the movement of putting his paw in your hand. In that situation, owners should be more patient and friendly, in an effort to help dogs know what is expected of them.
Dogs will yawn when they are excited or are expecting something to happen.
When you take your dog outside for a walk, removing the leash to let him have some free time, you may observe your dog yawning. While it may seem as if he is too tired to play, this assumption may be the furthest from the truth as he may be yawning because he is excited and happy.
With this knowledge, you may notice that the dog yawns in anticipation of his most enjoyable activities in excitement and anticipation. As your dog yawns in excitement, this function helps by replenishing oxygen to the brain, helping him to relax and calm down.
Dogs will yawn to send a message of passiveness to other dogs.
Dogs will yawn to send a specific message when meeting other dogs due to the fact that yawning contains no elements of fear, dominance, aggression or submission. If you watch closely, you can see that your dog’s yawning is a positive response to other dogs’ aggressive displays.
When your dog responds in a passive manner, the aggressive or threatening dog will likely stop the negative behaviors upon seeing the yawn. If you are the owner of a large, strong dog breed, your dog may be the dominant dog. It is common for dominant dogs to yawn in an effort to relax and calm the other more fearful dogs.
Dogs will yawn when they feel conflicted.
There are times when your dog is ambivalent about something, finding that he is uncertain as to whether he really wants or approves of it. Your dog may know exactly what you want him to do, but there are other distractions around him. When there are two choices presented to your dog, he might yawn as he tries to decide which one is better. Owners may feel that yawning is a good sign in this situation, showing that the dog is intelligent and capable of thinking his choice over, in an effort to make the right decision.
When humans are caught yawning in public, the reaction may be viewed as relatively meaningless, or even impolite, expressing feelings of fatigue or boredom. However, when dogs yawn, this is a type of communication, providing a way for owners to understand their canines.
The information derived from your dog’s daily experiences is the best way for you to understand the real meaning of his yawn. Some owners even experimented by yawning themselves in an effort to converse with their dogs. Have fun as you learn to interpret your dog’s yawns.