When do dogs yawn? Only when they are sleepy? or bored?
Does your dog yawn at the veterinary office? It's more likely he's stressed than bored or sleepy. Dogs yawn both to charge themselves up and calm themselves down. A yawn increases the flow of oxygen and boosts the heart rate -- actions that give the brain a wake-up call.
If you go to a canine agility competition, you'll often spot dogs yawning at the starting line while waiting for the signal to race for the first obstacle. You'll also see dogs yawning at the veterinarian's as well — a sure sign that they're stressed and trying to calm themselves.
In training classes, dog owners will often interpret a yawn as a sign the dog is bored. Not so, argues Turid Rugaas, author of "On Talking Terms With Dogs: Calming Signals" and a popular lecturer on canine body language. The dog who's yawning in obedience class is more likely stressed than bored, either from nervousness or from wanting to please, but not yet understanding how.
Just as with humans, yawning can be contagious to dogs. If you catch your dog's attention and yawn, you may well get a yawn back. Some experienced dog handlers actually use this to their advantage, training their dogs to yawn on cue as a way to get them either focused or relaxed.
Information is provided by the Veterinary Information Network