In the August 30 issue of Science News, they report on a study by Atsushi Senju of Birkbeck, University of London. They sat around with 29 dogs of various breeds. When they caught the dog’s eye, they either gave a big, sighing yawn, or made other less dramatic mouth movements.
Of the 29 dogs, 21 yawned at least once when the investigator yawned, and none of them yawned with the other mouth movements.
So, most people have observed that yawning seems to be "catching" between people. These guys observed that dogs catch it from people, too.
Here’s the funny thing: Gordon Gallup, Jr. of the Sate University of New York at Albany reviewed the study and says, "If the study can be replicated, it strongly suggests that dogs may have a primitive empathic capacity."
IF somebody else can get dogs to yawn, then MAYBE dogs can sense how people feel and react to it?
I guess it would be too easy, too oversimplified to just ask why people have selected dogs as their companions for ages. Is there a dog-owner out there anywhere who does not find his dog reacting to his moods?
I’m just glad it was British tax dollars at work there and not mine.