If you’ve ever wondered why your dog yawns so much, even when he’s well-rested, the answer may surprise you. When your dog yawns a lot, it could be a sign that he’s nervous and trying to relax himself. Yawning is one way that dogs communicate. So just as you might bite your fingernails when you’re nervous, a dog might yawn to calm himself down.

Owners can use this behavior to their advantage. By smacking their own lips and yawning, owners can signal to their pets that everything is okay. Try it sometime if your dog appears stressed. Get his attention, smack your lips, and show your dog a nice, big yawn. It may help calm your pooch down.

Source:  Dr. Larry McDaniel, DVM for the “Purina® Animal Instincts” Podcast Series