Dogs yawn for so many more reasons than just being tired.
Yawning is, of course, one of the cutest things dog do, right up there with tilting their adorable heads at certain sounds & putting their sweet paws on you when they want your attention. But a big yawn from your dog doesn’t necessarily mean he’s ready to hit the hay. Because, while yawning is certainly a sign of drowsiness in humans, your pup’s yawn could actually indicate your fur-baby’s stress level.
Vets say that dogs sometimes yawn as a way to calm themselves down. So, the next time you see your dog is overly yawny, try to assess the situation they’re in. Is your dog frustrated by trying to learn a new trick? Or possibly anxious about a visitor in your home? They could also become overstimulated by the very things they enjoy, like playtime or the idea of a walk. Canine behaviorists do say, though, that a good yawn can help dogs moderate their mood.
Yawns can even be a way for your dog to communicate that he’s stressed. Say your dog is struggling with a game or a training session; a yawn may be how they tell you they need a break. In some circumstances, dogs may yawn as a way to diffuse conflict. Such as if your pet yawns in the presence of a new dog or a new person, that could be him saying that he’s not a threat.
Not every canine yawn is connected to unpleasant interactions or feelings, of course. Because dogs that yawn around bedtime or when waking up from a nap are probably just sleepy. An isolated yawn during the day is also nothing to worry about. But if you see your dog yawning multiple times in a short period, try to pay attention, since they might be trying to tell you something.
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