Jeffrey Miller

A Writer's Life

Is your dog yawning with you?

New research suggest dogs can empathize with us…sort of

 

One night, when I was back home in 2006, I was sitting on the sofa watching TV when my mom’s Bichon Frise jumped up next to me. Whether it was the late hour, a not-so interesting TV program, or a combination of the two that impelled me to yawn, when I did, I could have sworn that my mom’s dog watched me yawn and then yawned, too.

 

Well, according to new research, I probably wasn’t too far off with that assessment. The results suggest domestic dogs have the capacity for fundamental form of empathy researchers say.

 

“The phenomenon, called contagious yawning, has been found only in humans and other primates such as chimpanzees and is thought to relate to our ability to empathize with others” according to an online article. It now appears that dogs can also yawn after watching us yawn.

 

And here you thought your dog was just sleepy.

 

According to this online article, 29 dogs were tested in yawning sessions and surprisingly they yawned more than past studies with chimpanzees and “showed similar reactions to human yawns.” Although researches are not sure “why dogs catch yawns from us” they still don’t understand “contagious yawning in humans.”

 

Well, once scientists figure this out, maybe they will also figure out if dogs dream because I could have also sworn that my mom’s Bichon was having some bad dreams one night when I heard it whimpering while it was sleeping.

1 Comment

  1. oh dogs definitely dream! I’ve often had to wake my dogs from bad dreams and you can see them running in what i hope are good dreams — their paws move and their breathing becomes rapid and shallow — i like to watch and wonder if they’re chasing rabbits or squirrels 🙂

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