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Why do Dogs Yawn?

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Why do dogs yawn? Is my dog always tired? Why do dogs fake yawn?

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Why do dogs yawn? 

Is my dog always tired? 

Why do dogs fake yawn?

Why is my dog always yawning? Is he tired? 
Most of the time when presented with a dog who is yawning people say that the behavior is prompted by feeling tired. But, this is not always true! A dog who is curling up and ready for bed might be yawning because they are tired. In most other situations, however, there are different causes for their yawning.
Verified in multiple studies, the main cause for yawning in dogs is as a response to stress. If you pay attention to when your dog yawns, there is likely a pattern. For example, if your dog yawns every time you grab their harness, that indicates that your dog doesn’t like having their harness grabbed.
It has also been hypothesized that dog’s do contagious yawning like people do with each other. However, the results of multiple studies have been overall inconclusive. On a population level it has not been proven that dogs exhibit contagious yawning, but there have been some individual dogs who do. It has also been shown that there is an element of social-emotional, empathy based, and emotional connection factors that will contribute to whether or not the dogs yawn in response to the person’s yawn.

The Bottom Line:
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References:

Buttner, A. P., & Strasser, R. (2013). Contagious yawning, social cognition, and arousal: An investigation of the processes underlying shelter dogs’ responses to human yawns. Animal Cognition, 17(1), 95–104. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-013-0641-z

Casey, R., 2002. Fear and stress. In: Horwitz, D.F., Mills, D.S., Heath, S. (Eds.), BSAVA Manual of canine and feline behavioural medicine. British Small Animal Veternary Association, Dorset, UK, pp. 144–153.

Horowitz, A. (2009). Disambiguating the “guilty look”: Salient prompts to a familiar dog behaviour. Behavioural Processes, 81(3), 447–452. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2009.03.014

Kuhne, F., Hößler, J.C., Struwe, R., 2012. Effects of human–dog familiarity on dogs’ behavioural responses to petting. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 142, 176–181.

Kuhne, F., Hößler, J. C., & Struwe, R. (2014). Emotions in dogs being petted by a familiar or unfamiliar person: Validating behavioural indicators of emotional states using heart rate variability. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 161, 113–120. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2014.09.020

Overall, K.L., 1997. Normal canine behavior. In: Overall, K.L. (Ed.), Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Small Animals. Mosby, St. Louis, USA, pp. 9–44.

Silva, K., Bessa, J., & de Sousa, L. (2012). Auditory contagious yawning in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris): first evidence for social modulation. Animal Cognition, 15(4), 721–724. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-012-0473-2

Taylor, A. M., Reby, D., & McComb, K. (2009). Context-Related Variation in the Vocal Growling Behaviour of the Domestic Dog (Canis familiaris). Ethology, 115(10), 905–915. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0310.2009.01681.x

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