Thursday, June 20, 2013

Yawning Dogs

Bet you can't scroll through this post and NOT yawn.


Empathy is the ability to accurately identify the emotions of others around you. Researchers use contagious yawning as a tool to measure empathy in humans. Kids in certain parts of the autism spectrum are not susceptible to contagious yawns. But dogs are.

"Yawning Sammy" mixed media by Dr. Barkman
Children are totally self absorbed and self centered until about age 4 (in some it lasts until 22, but Dr. Barkman is not naming names) when they develop cognitive abilities to accurately identify emotions in others and empathize.  In dogs it's the same.
"Yawning Golden Retriever mix"
mixed media
by Dr. Barkman
In bouts of play and cuddling with 35 dogs, aged 4 to 14 months, lucky researchers repeatedly yawned to see how often dogs would do the same. Only pups over 7 months showed evidence of contagious yawning, suggesting that empathy may develop slowly over the first part of a dog's life, just as it does in humans.

My guess is this doesn't work with African Wild Dogs, 
but then again, they might be difficult to play and cuddle with.
"Yawning African Wild Dog"
mixed media
by Dr. Barkman
Read more about contagious yawning in companion dogs.  Try it with your pooch.  And let me know how it works.

"Yawning Shepherd Mix"
mixed media
by Dr. Barkman

2 comments:

  1. Gah! I made it to the last picture and was checking if anyone commented. And yawned. I'll blame it on the fact I haven't had my coffee yet :-)

    And I'll blame my falling asleep in the chair at night on long tiring days, certainly I'm not led astry by Miss Piddles snoring....ahem...

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  2. Very interesting link! It definitely works, my little dog has been napping on the couch while I've been on the computer, so I got up and sat on the lounge floor and started talking to her, I did a few yawns during that time, and yes, she yawned right back a few times. Or it could have been she was just bored with what I had been telling herLOL!!!! It's a lovely confirmation of our human/dog relationship!!!

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