5 min read

Why Do Dogs Stretch And Shake When They Wake Up?

There's a very good reason.

A dog's morning routine starts off a lot like ours: a gaping yawn, a long, lazy STREEEEEEETCH ...

... and then COFFEE AND MORE COFF ... errr, a full-body shake.

So maybe we don't share the exact same morning ritual with our best friends, but it's tempting to imagine our dogs like to wake up the same way we do.

Like Angela Adan, a California-based dog trainer, who also happens to be into yoga.

"My dog does some downward dog every time he wakes up from a nap," Adan tells The Dodo. "He does a yawn and a downward dog. It's just his way of relaxing."

But of course, dogs don't follow in our footsteps. They follow those of their ancient predecessors.

Like many of the reasons why dogs do the things they do, the origins of the morning stretch - and often shake - can be traced back to a time when every day was a battle to survive.

"Dogs, as hunters and fighters, in an evolutionary sense never know what will happen when they get up to roam their territory," Paul Rosenberg, a veterinary chiropractor at Pets in Motion Animal Chiropractic, tells The Dodo. "Stretching helps prepare for any hunt for food or brawl for territory that comes along."

"Evolution favors the prepared," Rosenberg adds. "Don't stretch and you risk successfully hunting and you starve. Get injured or killed in a fight and you are less likely to provide for your offspring or pack mates."

And the shake? While not nearly as pronounced at that morning stretch, some dogs do it when they first stir in the morning. It may also be a way of loosening up and getting limber before tackling the day's exertions.

"The reason why dogs shake when they get up is just like us," Jackie Cameron, dog trainer and founder of No Kill Kern, tells The Dodo. "They want to stretch out and they want to get their muscles ready for activity.

"Dogs are active beings. When they get up, they want to start moving. It's charging the system."

The bottom line? For dogs, stretching and shaking is likely hardwired instinct.

"We think we are the brightest ones and oftentimes, we don't follow what our instincts are telling us," Lia Marques, a trainer with Marley's Mutts, tells The Dodo.

Which is why dogs might not be so much copying humans when they stretch - but rather reminding us to to do it every day. Because it's good for all of us.

Good dog.