The Secrets Behind Calming Signals in Dogs
Have you ever wondered why your dog licks his lips once you have given a command? Or perhaps you thought your dog was just tired because he is always yawning? These are in fact very subtle signals that your dog is giving you! Calming signals.
ALL of the above dogs are showing calming signals. Even the tiny puppy at 6 weeks of age instinctively knows how to use this little understood canine body language. As you may have read in Sam the collies story (see dog blog), I used calming signals when I first met this very nervous-aggressive dog. This was to help Sam understand my passive intentions and to encourage him to trust me. Unfortunately not enough people know about this revolutionary canine science or use it to any effect in the dog training world.
The most common calming signals are licking the lips, lying down, turning the head away, blinking slowly, sniffing the ground and yawning. However there is far more to this little known and often misunderstood science than first meets the eye. If you ever notice your dog do one or more of these things the chances are he’s trying to calm someone down and it could be YOU.
When you told off your dog did you observe that he licked his lips? He is communicating to you that you were perhaps too loud. Being aggressive with your dog can also give this response. By using these signals your dog can tell you he wants you to calm down or he’s calming himself down.
Dogs use this language with each other too, this is to avoid conflicts and fights. It is important to socialise puppies properly at a young age (and continue to!). Otherwise problems can arise as they never learn to read the signals from other dogs. This is often what triggers a lot of dog fights. Dogs that are over excited and filled with adrenaline also stop responding to other dog’s signals.
It is very important that we do not ignore these calming signals. It can cause an anxious state of mind to develop when the natural canine body language is being ignored. This communication has often been called ” the language of peace” by canine experts and it is a very useful piece of knowledge when working with dogs. Particularly if you have a very sensitive dog. Here at Dog Barking Mad a conscious effort is made to both implement and advance this revolutionary science. I use calming signals in all my dog training as it relaxes the dog and builds trust from the first encounter.
Next time your dog gives you a calming signal take note and work out what was the most likely cause for this reaction. Practice using these around the home, your dog will soon copy you and get used to using these signals again. It will bring you and your dog closer together and your dog will definitely thank you for it!
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