Why do dogs yawn?

Why Do Dogs Yawn?

If you’re a dog owner, you might notice that your dog is yawning quite often. Like humans, dogs will yawn if they are tired or feeling sleepy, or when they have just awoken.
However, you might notice that your dog’s yawning happens in sporadic times of the day, when they shouldn’t be feeling sleepy. This could happen in the middle of a training session, or a game you’re playing with your dog. Are they sleepy, or does a dog’s yawn indicate something else? Is your dog trying to tell you something?


Yawning in dogs is a means of communication for the little puppers. Since they don’t have verbal communication, dogs will try to communicate with you through their vocal sounds, like yawns and sighs. They want you to understand a message that they are trying to communicate with you.
Read on to find out reasons for why dogs yawn throughout the day and questions that you might have.

Your Dog is Feeling Sleepy and Relaxed

Why do dogs yawn?

The most obvious reason towards a dog’s yawn is, like humans, that your dog is feeling sleepy. This one won’t be difficult to misinterpret.
In dog language, yawning is usually a sign that your puppers feels calm and relaxed. This could occur after a long day, or after some vigorous and energetic workout. It will be obvious that your dog is relaxed, as they will probably be stretching and getting ready for a nap.

Your Dog is Confused

Whether you’re training your dog or teaching him/her a couple of new tricks, your dog will sometimes start yawning.
Yawning in dogs doesn’t only occur after a long day. Sometimes, dogs will yawn during the strenuous effort that they’re exerting.
If you’re training your dog or teaching him/her a couple of new tricks, then you might notice them yawn. A Norwegian dog trainer and author dubbed yawning for dogs as a “calming signal.” Dogs will yawn when they’re challenged with choices as a means to calm themselves down.


Some trainers say that if your dog squeals as they yawn, that this is in fact a good sign. Similar to having a gut instinct, a dog squealing while yawning usually means that your dog is about to make the correct choice.
Next time you give your dog a command and your dog yawns back at you instead, then this means that your dog isn’t really understanding what you want. You can help fix this by practicing and training with your dog more. Be sure to try new and different approaches and tactics, as your dog might be bored with the old ones!

Your Dog is Communicating

Dog communicating

When two dog owners come to meet, they might find that their dogs are approaching each other and yawning. Dogs yawn to communicate with each other, especially if they’re meeting a new dog.
If a dog is walking into a new territory, they will sometimes yawn. This yawn does not mean that they are sleepy or necessarily stressed. Yawning in these situations is a way for the dog to communicate that it means no hostility.

Dogs Yawn When Stressed Out

Dogs don’t not only yawn when they’re being mentally or physically challenged. Sometimes, your dog will yawn simply because they are feeling uncomfortable around a certain somebody.
Try to keep note of the patterns of your dog’s yawning. When do they usually yawn? And what triggers your dog to yawn? Sometimes, dogs will yawn as a response to being around someone. If a stranger approaches your dogs and hugs or pets him/her, you might find your dog yawning. This could be an indication that your dog feels a little anxious.
Dogs will even sometimes respond to a fight that’s happening within his/her vicinity, even if it’s not directed at them.


If your dog is yawning and seemingly tense, then this could indicate that your dog is feeling uncomfortable, in which case you should take action. Try to separate your dog from the person causing them anxiety or allocate your dog to a different room or space far away from the negative energy.
There are some physical signs that will help you notice whether your dog is stressed or relaxed. Lowing of the ears, squinty eyes or if your dog feels very tense can all be signs that your dog is feeling stressed.

Dogs Yawn When Excited

Excited dog

Dogs will yawn when they’re stressed out or when they’re excited! If this sounds confusing to you, then try to be aware of the circumstances in which your dog is yawning. Are you about to feed your dog or go for a walk? Such gestures will have your dog excited.
Since yawning is a calming signal, dogs yawn as a means to level down their excitement.

Yawns are Contagious, Even in Dogs

Have you ever seen someone yawn in person or on TV, and then find yourself promptly yawning too? Yes, yawns are contagious, and dogs can catch them too! According to some studies, a yawn is related to empathetic emotions. Dogs are likely to respond to the yawns of people they are familiar with rather than strangers or someone on TV.

Is My Dog Bored?

If your dog yawns, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are bored. Dogs don’t get as easily bored as humans, and can find a way to entertain themselves. Whether it’s by chasing their tails or taking a nap, a dog will usually find something to distract its attention with.
Dogs yawn if they are getting impatient with the activity that they are engaging in. In that case, you should let your dog know that you understand its body language by moving on to a different (and perhaps easier) challenge or approach.

Dogs yawn when they are relaxed for obvious reasons related to the oxygen circulation in your body. You don’t need to know the details for that so much as a pet owner.
If your dog has a smile while they yawn, then even more bonus points to you!

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