Dogs are compelled to yawn if they hear their owners do the same, a study has suggested.
Researchers claimed that dogs responded only to an audio cue such as a yawn even if they didn’t see the action taking place. The study found this was particularly noticeable when the dogs were listening to the yawns of people they knew.
Scientists suggested the findings, presented at the National Ethology Congress in Lisbon, showed canines had empathy to human behaviours.
“These results suggest that dogs have the capacity to empathise with humans,” said lead author Karine Silva, from the University of Porto, Portugal.