Saturday, August 9, 2008

Dogs Can Catch Human Yawns

This is cool!

Read the article below to find out about a study done by a group at Birkbeck College, University of London. The study proves that dogs can catch human yawns.

Of course, after I read the article the first thing I did was put both of my dogs through a series of yawning tests. :) My technique was a little off, as I couldn't manage to get them to look me right in the eye too much, but finally Buddy gave in and yawned right after I did!

If you have a dog...go ahead and test them. It is loads of fun! :D

Here is part of the article:

Dr Senju and his team wondered whether dogs - that are very skilled at reading human social cues - could read the human yawn signal, and set out to test the yawning capabilities of 29 canines.

The team created two conditions, each five minutes long, in which a person - who was a stranger to the dog - was sat in front of the animal and asked to call its name. Under the first condition, the stranger yawned once the dogs had made eye contact with them.

"We gave dogs everything: visual and auditory stimulus to induce them to yawn," Dr Senju, told BBC News.

Under the second condition, the same procedure was followed, but this time the stranger opened and closed their mouth but did not yawn.

This was a precaution to ensure that dogs were not responding to an open mouth, explained Dr Senju.

Yawning yet?

The team found that 21 out of 29 dogs yawned when the stranger in front of them yawned - on average, dogs yawned 1.9 times. By contrast, no dogs yawned during the non-yawning condition.

The researchers believe that these results are the first evidence that dogs have the capacity to empathise with humans; although the team could not rule out stress-induced yawning - they hope to in future studies.

"Dogs have a very special capacity to read human communication. They respond when we point and when we signal," Dr Senju told BBC News.

The researchers explained that along with floppy ears and big soppy-eyes, humans have selected dogs to be obedient and docile. The results from this study suggest the capacity for empathy towards humans is another trait selected in dogs during domestication.

Dr Senju thinks that these traits would have been useful to humans when they began to live side-by-side with canines approximately 15,000 years ago.

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A New Yorker said...

Your puppy is cute. I always find these studies boggling. Mostly because they seem pretty darn obvious and that money is spent on conducting them seems silly to me. DUH...animals pick up on energy of humans and visa versa. Those who think that other living creatures can't feel seem to be over hubris to me. :-)

Arv said...

Thats an interesting one... Should try that sometime... now who has a dog nearby... LOL...

have a super weekend mate... cheers...

none said...

I can make a dog go to sleep by yawning and letting my eyes slowly close while looking at the dog.

It works everytime.

Anonymous Mom said...

as soon as my dogs wake up from their naps, I will test them!!!

I wonder if it works on cats too? I'll let you know :)

Hemanth Potluri said...

hahaha lol...its interesting how many times does human yawn wen he sees a dog do the same..hahah some knowledge let me test some day wen i go to my frnds home...


Anonymous said...

That's interesting. My dogs would yawn a lot without anyone yawning. The vet told us that it's a sign that the dog is bored.

Jay said...

I'm gonna try that on my sister's dog sometime. She likes to get right up nose to nose with people. When she does that to me I'm going to yawn and see if she does too.

bindhiya said...

LOL.... interesting and funny...
I have to try it on the puppy too..
have a good day..
♥ & ((hugs))

bindhiya said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
HawgWyld said...

I'm ashamed to admit it, but I've actually yawned at my dogs before.

And, yes, they can catch a yawn...

The Natural State Hawg

gary rith said...

Thanks for what you said about my teapot at Fortune Cookie's blog! Now I can look around and see what is happening at your blog....

Chris O. said...

Now, do you think we can catch a dog's yawn?

Fortune Cookies said...

I definitely believe in dog's empathetic abilities. I have epilepsy and my dog knows when I'm going to have a seizure before the aura ever sets in for me. She isn't even one of those trained seizure alert dogs. She just knows.

Jessica said...

Thanks, I think so! :)
I agree…money spent for the obvious, but it’s still cool.

Go find a dog quick…you need one! :D

Now that’s cool!

LOL try it with your new kitty!

I wonder??? :)

Hmm, I’ve always wondered if dogs can really get bored.

Hehe, aw…I bet it’ll work.

It did crack me up when I finally got my dog to do it! :)

Welcome…come back often! :)
Don’t be ashamed…we’ve all done it! lol

Hi Gary,
Welcome, thanks for the visit! :)
I love your work.

Hmm, I’m not to sure! :)

That’s amazingly awesome! Dogs rock.They are so smart. :)

Kathie Graham said...

How funny!!!

Jessica said...

Hi Kgraham,
Thanks for the visit! Come back anytime! :D