Yawning..
First Basenji's

This is weird but I was just wondering if Dolce is just bored with EVERYTHING all the time or this is just prissy Basenji behavior. She is constantly yawning, she could be playing and going nuts and randomly yawn a few times, also just relaxing she will do the same. I always look and her and say, "oh goshh your life is so hard, all that playing and love must get boring," she just looks are me and blinks and then licks my hand. I also once read on here or maybe on the BCOA FB page that someone had posted behaviors of aggressive dogs and one topic they discussed was dogs who yawn… Again when she is yawing I talk to her and tell her, "OMGGGGGG stoppp!!! You are being so aggressive, I am so scared, don't try to attack me with your cuteness." Yes, I talk to my dog in the language of sarcasm and I believe she understands, I think its a natural language for B's hahah. I clearly know she is NOT aggressive in anyway I NEVER heard her growl or make an negative or aggressive behavior towards another dog or human, even if they were being mean or aggressive to her. I made sure when she was a puppy we did EVERYTHING possible to not be affected by negativity and she is amazing and it blows my mind sometimes how she lets things go, such a proud mommy. Anyway... do most B's yawn or even other dogs yawn a lot and are not aggressive as this article suggested?

Kaiser yawns a lot as well, not aggressive, Seems like it's just before he is deciding on his next move or when he's lazing around. Could it be they are stretching their jaws. Sometimes a little noise comes out as well but mostly silent. I think it's a cute thing.

Jolanda and Kaiser

I've never heard of yawning as a sign of aggression, but yawning, blinking/looking away, licking hands and flicking their tongue are all typical calming signals - in other words, little things dogs do when they feel slightly uncomfortable. For instance a dog might yawn, blink or look away if they feel you're staring at them too directly (since dogs don't tend to like direct, face-on eye contact).

Not saying it necessarily applies to your dog, but it's something to keep in mind.

Yawning can be many things, including boredom or sleepiness, but it can also be a stress reaction. I have never heard it linked to aggression! It's also quite catching…....certainly with humans, and I find if we are all yawning, Perry may join in. He almost always yawns if I tell him it's time to go to bed. 🙂

@AnubisTheBarklessDog:

I've never heard of yawning as a sign of aggression, but yawning, blinking/looking away, licking hands and flicking their tongue are all typical calming signals - in other words, little things dogs do when they feel slightly uncomfortable. For instance a dog might yawn, blink or look away if they feel you're staring at them too directly (since dogs don't tend to like direct, face-on eye contact).

Not saying it necessarily applies to your dog, but it's something to keep in mind.

This. Look for book/dvd by Turid Rugaas. Sounds like your pup is just trying to keep everyone happy.

Yawing is used by dogs as a calming signal as other posters have mentioned. They yawn to diffuse tense situations so it definitely is not a sign of aggression.

Looking away and licking the lips are other signals the dog is uncomfortable in a situation… Now tense situations can lead to aggression, but these signals are given by the dog in hope that this can be avoided. If the dogs signals of discomfort are ignored it can lead to growling and biting.

Other than that dogs also yawn when bored or tired like we do...or they will yawn in response to hearing or seeing us yawn which is a sympathetic reaction (there was a recent study on this).

So one thing to consider when the dog is yawning is the context of the behavior 🙂

For nearly all breeds, yawning can just be yawning, can often be a calming signal. For basenjis it can also be musical yawning. Cara yawns to talk. Arwen yawns for no apparent reason more often, rarely with noise. But she yawns AT Leora a lot. Leora says "STOP TELLING ME TO CALM DOWN, I AM CALM" which earns her another blink and yawn. 🙂 If Cara gets wild, Arwen yawns. If yawning doesn't work, she then snarks her. Then yawns again, as if to say "I tried it nice, then had to snark, don't you think it's time you quit being stupid and recognized the yawn? CHILL THE HECK OUT!"

Oakley yawns to talk too!! Whenever he start actively yawning I know he's warming up his vocals..lol, he also yawns at me if we're having a staring contest…he always gives in

Yawning is canine for "peace." I use calming signals with Ava. When she is hyped up, I look away and give a few big yawns. When I get her attention, I will yawn, then blink very slowly at her. Sometimes, it takes a minute if she is in overdrive, but she will usually slow down and watch me. Eventually, she yawns back. Then I can pick her up and give her calming strokes. As agilebasenji mentioned, the Turid Rugaas book/DVD is very helpful.

I have learned to recognize Ava's main stress signals– opening and closing her mouth, licking her lips, rigidly turning her back on me. When I notice these, I can use calming signals to reassure her. Sometimes, after we go through our spiel, she'll put her paw on my hand and look at me as if to say, "I'm cool now, mom." Of course, sometimes, nothing works.

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