Yawning Dogs May Show Animals’ Empathy

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Have you caught your dog yawning lately? According to a study published in the journal PLOS ONE, the act might have been caused by your pet mimicking your behavior.

A total of 25 dogs were part of the investigation, and researchers watched how they reacted to the yawns of strangers and their owners. Since the mirrored action could be caused by anxiety or mild stress, the heart rates of the animals were tested to see if that was the case. The results concluded stress wasn’t a factor since there was no drastic elevation or fall in the readings.

Overall, the dogs yawned more often in reaction to their owners and less with strangers. Additionally, they responded less to people who pretended to yawn, which researchers believe shows a correlation between the contagious act and empathy.

Other species have been known to exhibit similar behavior. Baboons and chimpanzees also mimic yawns. In a study involving only humans, people copied those they cared about most at a higher frequency. 

Does your furry friend’s yawns line up along with yours? It might be tapped into your emotions and showing a bit of camaraderie.

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