Calming Signals

Calming Signals

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In my earlier post, ‘The Stressed Dog’, I shared about how a dog can get stressed by you, or through other dogs or the environment that they live in.

Here I want to discuss on the obvious show of his behaviour known as calming signals. Pleading for help that’s hidden in plain sight.

The findings here are discoveries made by Turid Rugaas. A renowned Scandinavian dog trainer and behaviourist who has spent her whole life studying the behaviour of dogs. She doesn’t believe in the leader and slave approach to dog training. I don’t too.

Some of the ways that your dog will express calming signals. Which is actually an exhibit of stress, are by the following actions.

By yawning, head turning, softening of the eyes, scratching the body, chewing the leg, turning away with the body, turning his back to you, licking the nose, freezing on the spot, walking or moving slowly towards you or towards another dog, bowing with the two front legs, sitting down, lying down on prone position on all four legs, sniffing the ground, scratching the floor, walking in a curve towards another, splitting up two animals by going in between them, wagging the tail or by lifting up one front leg.

These actions are his calming signals.

Dogs use calming signals to calm themselves as well as other dogs and people. They the dogs recognize these signals instinctively. This it to prevent things from happening, to avoid threats, conflict resolving, show nervousness, show fear, fear of noise and show their awareness of unpleasant things. They are so intelligent that they use these signals to calm a situation. Show that they are friendly or that they are re-assuring when you come into their presence.

By showing you one or more of the above calming signals they are trying to tell you one of the following or a combination of thoughts:

  • Please calm down
  • I am friendly
  • I have peaceful intentions
  • I am uncomfortable
  • I feel stressed, scared, worried
  • I calm myself
  • I calm you
  • I calm others around me
  • I freeze to show that I am not a threat
  • I walk slow because it is calming
  • I move slow because I want to calm you
  • I release tension
  • I want to play
  • I am stressed
  • I am uncertain
  • I submit
  • I smell a situation here
  • I curve walk to create calm in you
  • Please calm down
  • I am fearful

Dogs learn these calming signals from their parents or siblings at a young age. However at most times they are taken away from their families at that time. So the skills are not picked up sufficiently. Resulting in an inability to de-stress and a serious lack in communication skills. They then become neurotic, fearful and aggressive. In my earlier blog post I said that it can cause dogs to have health or mental issues. Sometimes manifested into skin, organ or worse. Even cancer issues. Of course food, diet and rest plays a major part too in the overall health of a dog.

We are at most times not conscious enough to notice our dog’s calming signals when they are being exhibited. That is till now. What you can do is pay very close attention and start to observe your dog when you communicate with him. You can simply speak in a soft and gentle voice. Or play less wildly with him. Look out for his most used display of actions against the list above. Notice his preference of actions. Those then are the ones that he favours. No two dogs are the same. As personality also plays a part. When he exhibits stress you need to re-assure him as his guardian by mimicking some of the actions.

Dogs like all animals are actually telepathic and can read your mind and your intentions without you having to show them through your body language or through verbal language. They know your true intentions. They pick all images that you create in your mind. That’s why you can’t lie to a dog, cat or other animal in existence. Most times they simply play along to appease you. This may come as a surprise to you or it may sound too far fetched to believe. Well trust me. I am an animal communicator myself. I am not mad. And the messages that I pick up are not your mundane and usual interactions on food, diet, play and preferred sleeping areas in the home. So today we are not going to go in that direction and talk about animal communication. (By the way I am a professional animal communicator on Instagram with a number of international following). That aside. Instead let’s talk about how to have a happier dog that you can help him boost his confidence. And make him become more comfortable and trusting. Ultimate aim here is to reduce or remove his stress levels while he lives his life with you.

I will suggest that you mimic some of his actions. Some actions may look strange or people around you may think you have gone off your rockers if you exhibited any of them. Like desperately scratching yourself or attempt to put your face close to the ground and stick out your tongue😊

You can instead yawn, turn your face sideways for a few seconds, stretch out your two hands straight downwards in front of you or lower you gaze when you look at him. When you try the last method just ensure he is at a lower height than you and that you do not face him eye to eye. 


If you have queries to what I have shared do please write to me or whatsapp me.