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Discussion Starter #1
Sometimes when I pick Teddy up, he automatically goes into snuggle mode. And sometimes he initiates it himself. But every so often when I pick him up, he gets a little tense (like he would bolt if I let go of him), avoids looking me in the eye and yawns a lot. Then after a few long seconds of that, he relaxes and lays his head on my shoulder. It's weird and I can't figure out what it means. Does anyone on here have any idea?
 

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Dogs will yawn when they are trying to de-stress. Avoiding eye contact and yawning to me sounds like he is being submissive. He could be not knowing why you are picking him up and get tense, then being submissive.
 

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I have no clue but since you mentioned it Aoki (not poodle) she does this sometimes. I thought it was excitement and she would just yawn....IDK but I am curious now.
 

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Yawning is calming behavior, isn't it? If I think about when this happens most, it's usually in the living room where I brush him. Maybe that's what he's concerned about. Maybe I should start giving him good treats while I'm grooming him.

Good to know it's submissive behavior. It's easy to mistake the averted gaze for not wanting to be with you. LOL
 

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dogs will look away when they don't want you in their space or don't care to interact. It's not necessary a submissive posture, but a signal they are not interested. The yawning is a signal that says, "I'm a bit uncomfortable at the moment" and if you yawn BACK at them (and possibly lick your lips), your telling them, "it's ok, I understand" It's a calming SIGNAL that communicates their immediate situation.

I think sometimes, our dogs just want to be left to themselves, but as humans, we want to cuddle them. Now, it's OK for your dog to want his (or her) space and we should respect that, after all, there are times when I want my space too!

If you are concerned with his impression of being groomed in the living room and associating that with the nervous behavior, then I'd pick another area to do your grooming. Make it some place where he doesn't willing go to "relax" and destress, same goes for you :) A dog will learn to accept grooming a lot better if it's done as a routine, the same every time, and can atticipate when it's grooming time. Taking them by suprise by brushing etc makes them uneasy and can actually make grooming more stressful because they can't tell when to expect it!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
That's interesting. I'll yawn at him next time. :)

Honestly, I don't think he does it because he doesn't want to be held, because it doesn't take him long to relax. When he doesn't want me to hold him, he squirms until I put him down.

Good points about the grooming routine. I think that's exactly why he reacts that way--because he isn't sure what I'm going to do.
 
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