Dogtired or something else?

Posted by on Aug 6, 2008 in Uncategorized | One Comment

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We've known for quite a while that yawning is contagious in humans: that one human yawn will lead to others.

Lots of debate about the function of yawning (cooling the brain, increasing oxygen, mood alignment within the group) but it's clear the spread is rooted in the same kind of unconscious empathetic mechanism that shapes the spread of suicide, laughter and obesity

Interesting story in the press today about how domesticated dogs are not just prone to copying human yawning but actually more likely to copy human yawns than humans are.

Not surprising really given that both canines and humans are sophisticated social species which have learned to run together…but still very cute

1 Comment

  1. Helge Tennø
    August 9, 2008

    Our dog trainer says that dogs yawn to tell other dogs that they are not aggressive and that there is nothing to fear (maybe even to show a bit of submissiveness).
    She says dogs are experts in avoiding conflict and this is one of many signs they communicate in order to do that. Not all dog owners would agree to that though, so maybe it has got a lot to do with breed which the study also notes.
    So seeing dogs or people yawn is a conscious sign for dogs and maybe they feel like responding with a yawn saying that they are on the same page.
    I think its more than unconscious empathy for most dogs, it’s more conscious communication to let you know how to perceive them.