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Study on yawning dogs reaffirms connection between master and pet

Posted by: Richard Towey  Date: 24/08/2013   Category: Latest News

New research has proven that not only are dogs prone to contagious yawning, they’re more likely to mimic this action in response to their owners than a stranger.

According to guardian.co.uk, a Japanese team of researchers conducted tests on 25 dogs and their owners to see how the group of pets responded to both genuine and fake bouts of yawning from humans.

The dogs were called by each owner, who proceeded to yawn or replicate a yawning movement in front of them to see how they would react.

Two cameras were used to record the dogs’ responses in four test sessions each lasting a total of five minutes, while the dogs’ heart rates were also monitored by a device strapped to their chests.

Talking to independent.co.uk, lead scientist Dr Teresa Romero, from the University of Tokyo, said the results suggest that contagious yawning among dogs is indeed influenced by the actions of their masters.

Dog owners can only wish their pets would follow their actions in other instances, such as when they order them to be quiet. Fortunately, they can still use an anti-bark collar to gain the desire effect.

Ms Romero said that dogs yawned more frequently when watching someone that was familiar to them than someone they didn’t know before the tests, demonstrating the indication of empathy from the animal dubbed ‘man’s best friend’.

“Our study shows contagious yawning in dogs is emotionally connected in a way similar to humans,” she added.