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Old 02-15-2010, 10:53 AM
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My dog constantly yawns. We were at a meetup thing this weekend and she was yawning, and the trainer said that was her way of expressing anxiety.

But when she sits next to me on the couch while I am petting her, she yawns. She also licks her lips a lot. But the yawning is constant. I can't imagine when she is here at home what she would be anxious about.

I googled and read a ton about "yawning" and calming signals, but I don't understand. Do they yawn both when they are relaxed and anxious? Is she trying to communicate something to me? I don't yell at her, I don't hit her...she's got it pretty good, except for me keeping her off the couch without permission which makes her pace (she is obsessed with being on the couch).

Can anyone explain yawning and calming signals to me? Thanks!
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Old 02-15-2010, 11:13 AM
Location: Dallas, Tx
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I found this article Why Do Dogs Yawn?

Not sure how much truth it holds, however my dogs yawn a lot too. My older one does have a bit of anxiety, but normally I see them yawn before they go to sleep or after they wake up or when they're just plain bored.
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Old 02-15-2010, 02:12 PM
Location: Chicago, IL
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Our trainer had mentioned licking and yawning were signs to calm themselves down in certain situations, usually when they are stressed. Our pup used to do this often and our trainer had pointed it out to us. Otherwise we would've never known.

As for your pup doing it when you are just home relaxing, I really wouldn't know... I am thinking she could be 1) bored --- how often do you play with her?, or 2) she might be associating her anxiety with something on the couch, something in the living room, or maybe even noise (from the tv?)?

But that is just my non-professional guess... Does she also do this in the bedroom, another room, or outside?
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Old 02-15-2010, 05:18 PM
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Oh heck mine yawn all the time when we are sitting around relaxing .. I don't see how it could be stress related .. they live the life of Riley

OTH, I haven't noticed them yawning when they are in situations that I am aware makes them anxious.
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Old 02-15-2010, 05:21 PM
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Does she also do this in the bedroom, another room, or outside?
Yes, she yawns everywhere and a lot, I'm talking about maybe a hundred yawns in a day? I never counted, but so much that people notice. When she's on the couch, which is her favorite place in the world (it's a weird obsession) getting petted, she's in utopia. I can't imagine what would stress her in that situation. We play together (structured play) multiple times a day, and she also is really good about entertaining herself with her toys. She paces when I won't let her on the couch (it drives me crazy, but I need to teach her the couch is "mine" right now, so I can't let her up whenever she wants, which is always). She also does another calming signal (from what I read) which is "smiling." Not the tongue-hanging-out panting happy smile that we might think of when we think 'dog smile,' but she actually raises her top lip/cheeks and smiles, showing her teeth like a human smile. It's hilarious. She only does that when she is excited (happy), like meeting a new person, seeing me when she hasn't seen me all day, etc. She has a fan club at the vet's office because they love to see her smile! But by far, she yawns more than anything, to the point of it being kind of strange to me and I wonder what she's trying to convey...happiness, anxiety, or nothing. She definitely cannot be tired all the times she yawns...it's way too frequent.

Thanks for the link reference...I checked it out.

She's an unusual little dog. She was a stray with an unknown history. She also has barrier frustration, resource guarding (just a little), location guarding (the couch), and when she's on the couch with me, she sometimes gets excited and nips me very quickly in the hip or arm. She does not break the skin, and it's happened maybe 8 times since I got her in December. They are tiny play nips, but they hurt....and they always on the couch. She's a little oddball, and we are working on these behaviors.

Any thoughts are welcome!
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Old 02-15-2010, 08:51 PM
Location: Over the Rainbow...
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My one dog yawns when she is waking up and stretching and she sure is not anxious. It's funny because as she yawns she makes this noise as if greeting us good morning.
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