Don’t you hate it when someone in the room yawns, and then, all of a sudden… you get the urge to, YAAAWWWN?
Guess what? A new study reports that your dog feels your pain– or at least, your exhaustion.
We read the fascinating news on Time:
A Japan-based team of researchers studied 25 dogs of various breeds, and found that they were more likely to emulate yawns when they came from their owners rather than strangers. And the majority of the pups didn’t react to fake yawns, suggesting that they could even discern when their owners were genuinely fatigued and when they were just faking.
“Our results show that the emotional bond between people and their dogs is reciprocal,” Teresa Romero, an animal behavior researcher at the University of Tokyo who conducted the study, told NBC News in an email. “This attachment can shape the dog’s responses in a way similar to humans, that is, to be more sensitive to a familiar yawn than to a stranger.”
The researchers made sure to factor in the subjects’ heart rates to determine whether or not the dogs’ responses were coming from a place of distress rather than empathy. But the pups’ and the humans’ heart rates all remained stable throughout the experiment. So, next time you let out a big yawn, check and see if your canine companion yawns along with you. If he does, remember: this means he gets you.
Nap time, anyone? Dogs are great at that, too!