What Exactly Is A Dog’s Yawn?
In terms of definition, a yawn is an involuntary reflex where the mouth opens wide and the lungs take in a big gulp of air. The activity is quite similar between humans and other animals, and there’s no method to control the timing of this reflex.
Humans aren’t the only species that carry this habit. All vertebrates – which are animals that have a backbone – can display the reflex. However, with the exception of humans, the meaning of the yawns in the animal world remains unclear.
Each animal yawns for different reasons, and it’s hard to determine a conclusive answer that applies to all. We can only based on theories to closely assume the cause, and in this case, the meaning behind a dog’s yawn. Why dogs might yawn when you stroke them, or yawn when you play with them, we might not know for certain. However, by reading the situation and the dog’s reaction, we can closely guess what makes them
Yawning to Communicate with Other Dogs
Dogs use many verbal and non-verbal cues to communicate with each other, and yawning just so happens to be one of them.
It’s common to see a dog yawn when they meet another dog for the first time. That cues the other dog (usually the alpha) that they’re not going to attack him. Doing so may also serve as a double benefit since it simultaneously calms the dog doing the yawning.
It’s even possible that dogs may use yawning to show that they’re tired when playing together.
Can A Dog Fake Its Yawn?
When a dog opens its mouth wide and takes in a big gulp of air, is it really yawning? Well, this depends on the situation your dog is in.
As we have just discussed the many reasons why a dog can yawn, it’s possible to say that all yawns have certain meanings to them. However, when it comes to yawning without intention, it can be a little different. Your dog is either infected by your yawn, or was accidentally encouraged to ‘fake’ the yawn to get what they want.
For example, you might have given food to them when they yawn. This positive reaction leads the puppy to believe that whenever they yawn, they can get a treat. During other situations such as going for a walk or car ride to the park, the dog might also learn to yawn to get our attention.
why does my dog yawn when i pet him
Have you ever noticed that every time you pet your dog on the head, you get an enormous dog yawn in return? It’s almost funny because you reach for a pet and before you know it the dog is yawning. It certainly makes you wonder if there is a reason for this dog yawning or whether your dog is yawning simply because they are bored or tired.
Understanding dog body language can help you to know what that dog yawning is all about. People will do well to understand why dogs yawn and whether or not your dog may be trying to tell you something when they are yawning.
As humans, we often relate human yawns to reasons like tiredness or boredom with a certain situation but does it mean the same for dogs than it does for humans? Interestingly enough, a person yawning really is not the same as when a dog is yawning.
With that in mind, check out this information to understand why your dog is yawning and what people should do when their dog yawns.
This sidebar is far different of a sign than what happens when humans are yawning. Your dog might actually be yawning to give you signals that they want something from you. That something is probably your puppy being extra excited that you are petting them or giving them attention.
You might notice a similar signal when you head out to the dog park or take steps to play with your dog. Whether it’s a pat on the head or a trip to the dog park, they are simply more excited than their little mouth can communicate so your dog may yawn to contain their excitement about anything and everything.
Sometimes yawns are a dog body language that indicates a calming signal. When your dog yawns, this could be an appeasement gesture or calming signals from the dog who might be trying to calm someone or situations that are going on. This might even be a body language that is directed toward another dog as calming signals rather than towards someone.
If your dog upset you in some way, and your dog is yawning when you pet him on the head, it is most likely because he wants to calm and appease you. Dogs search for ways to relieve tension, particularly when it is focused on them.
Dogs that were in trouble and then get love from you might produce dog yawns because they are still trying to calm you in a way or because they are relieved that their person is mad no more. Animals can often sense conflict and this type of emotion so that is their answer to dealing with things.
Your dog might have experienced a conflict or stressful situations and your pup might yawn as a signal of that stress to relieve the stress within their brain. For example, if you’re preparing for a trip to the veterinarian, a lot of dogs can pick up on such a situation and they use their mouth to give you a sign that they are nervous.
In this type of situation, the dog yawning will most likely last longer than the normal dog yawns like a tired yawn. You can pick up on other stressors as well for your dog to understand if a yawn is their way of communicating stress. Look for pacing, whining, licking, and maybe even drooling.
When dogs yawn because of stress, you can calm your dog by loving them and talking to them in a soothing manner.
If your dog is yawning when you pet them on the head, the yawn could be a sign of confusion. People can be confusing so don’t blame your dog if they don’t get it either! If you showed signs of irritation and now, you are petting your dog on the head, the yawn might simply be that your dog doesn’t understand.
A yawn might also come out from dogs during training or when you issue a command if your dog doesn’t really understand what you’re trying to tell them to do. Their yawn might also result from conflicting emotions.
Maybe you took your dogs favorite toy away from them and then they started yawning. This is more of a response from your dog so that they don’t do anything they know would get them in trouble in this situation. Your dog might have wanted to bite when you took that toy, for obvious reasons, but instead, they began yawning to divert the situation and give signals that they won’t attack the guilty person.
There are some other reasons that your dog might yawn when you pet them on the head but these give a good overview of what you might know or expect. Some other reasons that you might want to consider would be medical issues at play.
If you are noticing frequent yawning for unexplained reasons, there might be something else at play and it could be a good idea to talk to the vet about your dog yawning.