Dog Care

WHY DOES MY DOG YAWN WHEN I CUDDLE HIM?

Every time you try to cuddle your dog, you notice that he or she always yawns. This seems strange when you look at the fact that he or she is not feeling sleepy. It makes you ask yourself. “Why does my dog yawn so much?”. “Should I continue to cuddle my puppy or my dog?” As humans, we link yawning to tiredness, sleep, not being interested in a particular thing and sometimes reflexes (Our yawning when others yawn). But for our dogs, the reason for their yawning is far different from ours.

So “Why does my dog yawn when I cuddle him?”

Dogs yawn in relation to what they are feeling about their environment, event, activity, or reflex action happening around them at the moment. These reactions can range from:

1.Excitement and Anticipation
2.Stress and Anxiety
3.Communicating With Other Dogs
4.Communicating With Us
5.Confusion
6.Calming signals
7.Reflex actions

You can compare it to the way your body would respond to something you like or hate that is happening around you. Since they do not have the luxury of having a hand or a range of vocal tones to express themselves properly, they yawn to relieve the built-up tension.

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Now let’s analyze this in more details

1.Excitement and Anticipation

This may come as a surprise to many but dogs when they get excited tend to yawn. Unlike human beings who might yawn to show a disinterest in something, our dogs can yawn as a sign of being eager or in anticipation of something exciting that they are expecting to happen to them.

You see by yawning, our dogs are preparing their body for the exciting encounter, filling their lungs with a deep breath and boosting the flow of oxygen to their brain. Their heart rate is also raised by this action making them more eager for the action, so next time you want to cuddle or preparing to go for a walk. Your dog may be telling you that he is so excited about what is going to happen and he just can hold in the excitement.

2.Stress and Anxiety

At the other extreme, our dogs can yawn when they feel that they are about to experience some form of stress or anxiety. For example, many people don’t know that dogs don’t like to be hugged. The act of hugging is not natural to them and leads to stress and anxiety in them so if you are hugging your dog and keep wondering Why does my dog keep yawning and stretching? Then basically, your dog is feeling Stressed and uncomfortable.

This situation may also be accompanied by other forms of body language like tensing their muscles, licking their lips, flattened ears, having their eyes wide opened just like when we experience sudden pain or surprise, and more.

This act can be compared to when we as humans get nervous, we might tap our feet repeatedly, clasp our hands tightly, or even bite our nails. So next time you hug your dog tightly or are trying to show your dog love forcefully and they yawn with some of the other body languages exhibited. Just know that your dog might be telling you that you are stressing him out.

3.Communicating With Other Dogs

One of the ways in which dogs communicate with themselves is by yawning, when dogs meet each other for the first time and want to build a rapport with each other, you will notice that they might yawn at each other and avoid using aggressive body languages like, they would move slower, lick their lips, tucking their tails in and even avoid direct gazing for the moment.

This is his way of saying to the other dog “Hey, I want us to be friends.” There are situations where things might get tense between him and other dogs, yawning at that moment will be a way of him saying “Hey, let’s diffuse this situation. Seems it’s getting out of hands”

4.Communicating With Us.

With regards to how our dogs interact with us, they may yawn if they sense that we are angry with them and are about to discipline them. This is a way of them sending what is called a calming signal to us. This is true especially when they are caught doing something they are not supposed to do and are trying to avoid being punished or reprimanded. Examples of some of these acts may be, when you catch them chewing on your shoes, rugs, sofa or going into places that they have already been warned not to go into.

In this way, they are saying “Ok, I know you caught me, please don’t be angry.” Of course, you should choose your next cause of action wisely in this case as anything that supports bad behavior would only lead to our dog’s character and personality getting worse.

5.Confusion.

Our dogs also yawn as a reflex action when they find themselves in a situation that they don’t understand. An example will be trying to punish your dog for something that happened yesterday, or during training sessions, trying to issue a command which your dog has not fully understood. The dog in this situation is likely to get confused and yawning would be a way of trying to dissipate the confusion he or she may be feeling at the moment.

6.Calming signals

Although this may sound like repetition, our dogs use their yawning as a calming signal for many situations. He or she may want something from you and may be using the yawn as a form of entreatment or appeasement. Just like the way you try to boost your confidence before asking your boss for a raise, or as a child the way you get excited when you want to ask your mum or dad for a favorite toy. All that giggly feeling can be compared to the calming signal here. It may also be an “I want to stay by you” kind of signal. So if you have your dog yawning around you when you believe you don’t have any activity with him or her, just look around and reason it through. He or she is likely expecting something from you.

7.Reflex actions

Just like we humans can yawn as a result of another person yawning in the same environment, our dogs too can be affected by this action. Maybe another dog or even cat that they have formed some sort of bond with is yawning in the environment. It is almost contagious and you may find the yawning. Some experiments in the past indicated that dogs that bond well with their pet parents tend to exhibit this type of behavior more often.

So there you have it. Why do dogs yawn when you pet them or cuddle them? Well, it is an expression of how they are feeling at that moment. If you are too strict to them, they are undergoing some form of stress and anxiety or even confusion and would prefer you let loose. If you are cuddling them just right, they may be feeling excited or happy that you are trying to spend some alone time.

Whatever you do, be gentle with your dog and only carry him or her when absolutely necessary. The best way to about cuddling your dog is to let them understand what you are trying to do before the cuddling session. The dog would easily be brought into the best frame of mind and the two of you would cuddle as long as you want.

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