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incredibletaco

Licking lips and yawning, is it always anxiety?

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We've had our guy for a year now and we love him dearly. But ever since we got him he has had behaviors where he would lick his lips and yawn often. For example:

- He will go and lie down next to me at his own leisure for pets (he loves belly rubs). When I start petting him he will "lick his lips". Basically his tongue juts out just an inch or so (not a swipe over the nose or anything). It won't happen constantly but it definitely happens as soon as I start petting him.

- When doing tricks for treats he will lick his lips with a large swipe over the nose. Not sure if he's anxious or just really excited for the treats.

- He yawns constantly. He'll stand up and yawn, he'll yawn sometimes while petting, he'll yawn during tricks, he'll yawn by himself in the other room with no one around.

In general he's a very calm dude. He lets us pet him on his bed, no sleep aggression, plays with toys and frolics, great with strangers, loves to roach. But I've heard that licking lips and yawning are "calming signals" and since he does them often I wanted to make sure everything was ok. Any thoughts?

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You have to take every behavior in context, not just rely on the statement.   It's never black and white.

So no.  Not every lip lick or yawn is an expression of anxiety.  Sometimes a yawn is just a yawn!

I always give my dogs choices about whether they stay or go when attention is involved.  Sometimes, they seek it out, and they'll stay till they're done.  Sometimes,  I will give them attention by stopping by their bed.  But I don't hold them anywhere and let them be if they seem uninterested in continuing.   I also occasionally get "done" before they do and ask them to leave (go lay down, whatever), and they usually do.


Chris - Mom to: Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Lilly, and Felicity ( DeLand )

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), and Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby),

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No. It can just be politeness or it looked to the dog like you were stressed or maybe watching too intently.  They soon make it clear if they're really uneasy. Yawns can be 'infectious' too just like they are with us humans.

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