Yawning is normal for most creatures, especially mammals, including cats, dogs, and primates (humans, monkeys, gorillas). As a dog owner or a potential dog owner, you need to take time to study about dogs in general; this will help you understand your dog better and relate to it well.
Some reasons dogs yawn are anxiety, stress, tiredness, indifference, catching a yawn, excitement, confusion, and communication. Sometimes, dogs yawn to avoid fighting with a more violent or larger dog. However, there are times when you need to be concerned when your dog is yawning excessively.
In humans, yawning often occurs involuntarily and could mean a sign of fatigue or lack of sleep. However, what about our dogs? Does it mean the same thing? Keep reading for more insights as to why dogs yawn.
Why Do Dogs Yawn?
If you have a very close bond with your dog, you might be able to tell what some of its behaviors mean after studying it for a while. The truth is, dogs cannot talk like we humans do. However, they communicate with us in different ways; we need to pay attention and understand them well.
Yawning in dogs could mean a dog is tired and sleepy, just like it occurs in many humans. However, could tiredness be the only reason why dogs yawn? Well, certainly not. If you take time to study your dog whenever it yawns, you might be able to understand the reason. However, there are general reasons why dogs yawn, and we will look at some of them.
The Dog Is Tired Or Confused
The most common reason creatures yawn is being tired; this is also applicable to dogs. If your dog spends the entire day playing and having fun, it will get tired and feel sleepy; you should expect to see it yawning occasionally. Also, a dog will yawn if it is confused and does not know what to do.
One thing most dog owners do not know is that when you are constantly repeating a command to a dog, you are making it more confused. So, when you are training your dog, and it is yawning, it is not tired, bored, or feeling sleepy; it does not understand what you are saying.
The Dog May Be Stressed or Anxious
If you have been noticing your dog yawn in between training or exercises, then it could be an indication of stress. Yawning could be a way of the dog communicating that it is already stressed and needs some rest. Also, if your dog yawns whenever there is a loud noise around or when it is left alone for too long, it could mean the dog is anxious.
When a dog yawns because of negative emotions (anxiety or stress), there are other signs, including tense muscles, flattened ears, wide eyes, lip licking, heavy panting, and whining. To be sure the yawning is due to either stress or anxiety, all you need to do is carefully study the dog.
Once you are sure, you can help the dog feel better by taking a break when stressed or keeping it calm when anxious. For example, if you notice your dog yawning when in the car, it could be nervous or anxious; the trip’s destination prompts this. If you are headed to get the dog treats or a park, its yawn means it is excited.
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The Dog is Excited
When a dog is filled with positive emotions, like it is very excited, it could respond by yawning. Your dog already knows when it is playtime or time for a walk and could always get very excited during such moments. So, when you grab the leash and notice your dog yawning, do not term it as being uninterested.
It means such a dog is excited and ready to have some fun with you. Your dog will consistently yawn to show you that it is happy and enthusiastic. Also, your dog will yawn when you pet and cuddle it; this shows that it is content and happy with you for giving it attention.
Yawning is Contagious
A yawn is very contagious, especially in humans. You could have observed it when you are around other people; if one person yawns in a room, there is a high chance most people will yawn, too, because it can be contagious. This also happens with dogs, not just among dogs but also with dogs and humans.
So, you might find your dog yawning almost immediately after you yawn. This is likely to occur between owners with very close bonds with their dogs. The contagious yawn between you and your dog could mean the dog emphasizes with you. It also strengthens the bond between the dog and its owner.
Dogs Yawn to Communicate
When a dog wants to inform other dogs that it comes in peace, it could display some calming signals, including yawning, averting its gaze, and licking its lips. Either of these behaviors means a dog is non-threatening.
When your dog feels threatened by you, it could yawn to deflect the threat. You could also notice it trying to avert its gaze. The dog’s yawn indicates it will not attack, although it could feel threatened by your action.
Why Does My Dog Yawn At Me?
There are different reasons as to why dogs could yawn. However, when it comes to yawning at a particular person, it could simply mean the dog is trying to communicate. If your dog shares a deep bond with you, it would likely yawn when you yawn around it.
According to a study, dogs are likely to yawn more when they see their owners yawn than when a stranger yawns. Also, a dog yawning at you could indicate that it is not a threat. For instance, when you return home and notice your dog has done something wrong, then you begin to scold and shout at it. The truth is, the dog might not even understand why you are scolding it.
However, when the scolding becomes too much and sees you as a threat, it could begin to yawn while averting its gaze. By doing this, the dog is trying to tell you that it feels threatened, but it will not attack you.
However, it is essential to note that scolding and shouting are not the best ways to correct a dog. If it becomes too much, a dog might feel threatened and attack to rebuff the threat. So instead, you can look for other ways to correct a dog whenever it displays some wrong behaviors.
Do Dogs Yawn When They Are Happy?
Of course, dogs yawn when they are happy; overwhelming excitement can be difficult for a dog to manage, so they yawn in most situations. This will happen when you show the dog affection and attention, they yawn, and while you might assume this is because the dog is tired and wants to sleep, it is happy and excited.
Do Dogs Yawn To Show Affection?
Yes, sometimes dogs yawn to show affection; this is strange because humans do not yawn to display affection. As a dog owner, you should know that while some behaviors are common among mammals, they do not signify the same thing. If you are petting and cuddling your dog, and it yaws, it communicates happiness, affection, and love.
You do not have to be alarmed when your dog yawns, especially when you want to play with it or give it treats. Dogs will yawn at any point, especially when they are excited. This does not mean your dog will not yawn for other reasons. Due to this complexity, you need to acquire knowledge of dogs.
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Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.