I Yawn for Your Love

7 Jun

A helpful review of the research on cross species contagious yawning.

The Science Dog

Vinny, my Brittany, yawns a lot. He yawns first thing in the morning when he rises, in the evening when he is tired, and many times in between. We notice this because Vinny emits an adorable little squeaky noise whenever he launches a particularly wide and emotive yawn. We also know that Vinny seems to be highly susceptible to contagious yawning. If Mike or I or one of the other dogs yawn when we are close by, Vinny immediately joins in.


Recently, I was delighted to find a series of research studies examining the phenomenon of yawning in dogs and their people. The primary objectives of these studies were to determine if dog yawning, traditionally believed to be a mild stress response, is in actuality (or additionally) a reflection of social contagion and empathy.

Yawning Dog WolfhoundI FEEL YOUR YAWN……

Background information: Contagious yawning is a well-established phenomenon in humans. Not only are most of us easily induced to open wide when someone nearby to us…

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