Why does my dog yawn when I pet him

Why Does My Dog Yawn When I Pet Him? Or Scratch Him?

Why does my dog yawn when I scratch him? We yawn when we are bored, tired, or when we see someone else yawning as the mirror cells present in our brain command us to do so. But, the case with our dogs is different.

There are several reasons that can cause the dog to yawn while you are petting him. Some common reasons include –


In this case, humans and dogs are very opposite. We yawn when we are bored but dogs yawn sometimes when they are excited. When I get home, my dog greets me at the door with a yawn as soon as I pet him.

The possible reason for this is that he would have woked up from a good nap. But, this yawn could also mean that he is excited that I am home.

Other signs of yawning in excitement include:

  • Grab his favorite toy to play
  • Getting your Dog for pick up the leash 
  • When we head to the counter where we keep the treats

Conflict management

Sometimes, when our dog yawns, he is trying to cope with something. This is the inbuilt mechanism in a dog.

Our dogs use this coping mechanism to hold back the behavior that they know they should not do. 

For example, if we see our dogs digging a hole, we will tell them to stop and try to fill the hole with our feet.

Our dogs love us and do not want to bite us despite their inner instinct telling them to do so. Therefore, in this situation, our dogs can take a huge yawn. 

When a dog yawns because of such conflicting reasons, it is not bad but we should teach them not to do this kind of stuff.

Hence, we can train our dogs with the words like “stop” and “drop it” so that we can use the words in the situations like above rather than investing ourselves physically.


The most common reason for our dogs to yawn is due to tiredness.

Have you noticed your dog yawning during bedtime?. When our dogs play a lot, they get tired and start yawning.

Do dogs yawn to show affection?

Yes, that’s true, dogs do show affection by yawning. They yawn when they see someone they love yawning. 

If you love dogs, you may notice that they also tend to yawn when their human family members do the same.

A study performed by researchers at the University of Tokyo in Japan finds that dogs also yawn contagiously and that too might be an expression of empathy.

Though it’s not possible to know for sure if dogs are capable of feeling empathy, studies suggest they indeed may be able to.

It’s easy to infer that when a dog mimics its owner’s yawns, it’s because of their mutual bond. Also, dogs are more likely to yawn when their owners do as opposed to a stranger. 

Think about it this way: your dog wouldn’t be attentive to you if he didn’t love you. This attention causes the dog to watch your every move.

Do dogs yawn when they are happy?

Dogs do yawn when they are happy, They exhibit many of the same emotions as people or any other animal. Dogs experience both positive and negative emotions. 

Dog’s feel joy and happiness, just like people do. They feel anxious, sad, and angry just like we do. They even get depressed, isolated, and lonely.

Just like people, dogs sleep better when they feel reassured and loved. Dogs yawn when they’re happy because they’re content. This is a sign of their comfort and relaxation.

Another thing is, it’s probably not a coincidence that your dog yawns when you’re happy.

Dogs yawn because they want to get more oxygen in their body and they want to be more alert and ready to take on whatever comes next.

In fact, your dog is able to sense your emotional state and when you’re happy, it makes them happy too!

Do dogs yawn when they are stressed?

If your dog yawns excessively, he may be stressed. You must pay attention to where, when, and how much your dog is yawning.

Dogs show that they are stressed out like we do, by yawning! If you notice your dog yawning a lot while in situations they’re not quite used to – like meeting a new person or attending a training class – chances are it’s because your dog is feeling stressed out.

If you sense this, then try to calm him down by taking him away from the situation. For example, if your dog is doing stressful yawning during the training session, then take your dog outside for some time and let him relax first, and then you can continue his session.

Why do dogs yawn when you cuddle them?

Whenever your dog yawn after a cuddle, it means that your dog is feeling uncomfortable.

It is his way to tell you that he did not like the cuddle. This can be weird when your dog is your cuddle buddy but that is true.

Your dog loves to snuggle up into you especially after a busy day. You can bring them partway to sleep, but you should be prepared for your dog to stretch out on the carpet or let out a huge yawn because your dog felt uncomfortable.

Why do my dog yawn at me?

Dogs display their complex social structures by observing levels of behavior from their human owners and one of them is yawning to some extent.

The dog may yawn when feeling threatened, but this is not always necessarily true. Dogs feel threatened by a number of different things that you wouldn’t necessarily expect, such as loud and sudden sounds, for instance.

Yawning as a means of defense most likely developed from the displays of play found in juvenile dogs.

Why do dogs yawn when I rub her belly?

Dogs may yawn to show they are giving a calming signal or an appea$ement gesture.

They communicate this with their body language and it could be that they are attempting to make you feel more relaxed or simply saying sorry for what they have done. 

In terms of the interaction that you have with your dog, he might give you this type of signal if you are angry at him for what he has done – even though he really can’t understand why.

Final thoughts

Typically, if a dog yawns in your face when you pet them it means they are not feeling well, however, sometimes it could mean they’re just excited to see you. They could be confused or bored at the time and maybe even a little stressed!

If you notice your dog yawning or panting excessively, take them to a veterinarian to rule out any medical problems that might be causing your four-legged friend excessive fatigue.

When communicating with your dog, it’s important to remember that they primarily communicate through body language and the use of facial expressions. 

You’ll need to familiarize yourself with their method of communication if you want to understand what they’re trying to tell you.

The more you invest in this effort, the better your relationship will be, because the happier both you and your pooch will be.