Dogs can catch yawns from owners

Everyone knows that when you yawn, someone else seeing you do it can also feel compelled to yawn as well. We can catch yawns from others, it’s contagious!

It’s been proven now however that dogs can also catch yawns from their owners, showing that your pet dog can empathise with your tired stated. It was believed that only humans and primates were able to ‘catch’ yawns from others around them, but now we know that dogs are capable of it as well.

The finding was discovered by a research team from Birkbeck College in the University of London.

Dr Atsushi Senju led the research to find out if dogs were capable of empathising with humans, and tested 29 dogs.

In strict test conditions the dogs were tested one by one with strangers yawning in front of them.

We gave dogs everything: visual and auditory stimulus to induce them to yawn.

Then they tested the dogs with people just opening and closing their mouths in front of the dogs, to ensure that the dogs were not just mimicking the motion.

The research discovered that 21 of 29 dogs responded to a yawn by yawning themselves. None of the dogs yawned to the fake yawn tests.

Dogs have a very special capacity to read human communication. They respond when we point and when we signal.

Does your dog yawn when you do?