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Authors

  • Con Slobodchikoff, Ph.D.
    Slobodchikoff is President and CEO of Animal Communications, Ltd., specializing in pet behavior problems and in educating people about the behavior of animals.
  • Karen London, Ph.D.
    London is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Pet Dog Trainer who specializes in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavioral problems in the domestic dog.

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July 02, 2009

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Alicia Wolman

This is very interesting!! My dog yawns when I ask her to "speak" on command. She usually yawns first and I think she does it so she can loosen her mouth muscles up or something so she can speak. She also yawns when other dogs are licking her mouth. That is about the only time she does it. Yawning is definitely not contagious - I watch tons of dogs and hardly ever see more than one yawn at a time. However dogs definitely observe the other's behaviors because I can get one to speak and then the others learn to do it too.

amazing creatures!

Randall Johnson

As I read Kristina’s guest post, I was reminded of the May 27th DBB post, which summarized two recent studies on contagious yawning in dogs that yielded completely different conclusions. This discrepancy may be due to different methodologies, i.e., one study used live human models and the other used video clips of humans and dogs.

I wholeheartedly believe all available tools should be brought to bear in terms of addressing the issue of ToM in other species and agree with Harr, A.L., et al. Do dogs (Canis familiaris) show contagious yawning? that this is “an exciting area for future studies”.

Although I haven’t knowingly seen examples of contagious yawning in my dogs, I’m fully prepared to acknowledge--and defend--that they exhibit ToM based on other behavioral aspects. I hope more DBB readers will chime in with their views and that Kristina will share the results of her survey with us when they become available.

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