You are fully aware that your furry friend relies heavily on body language to communicate, but did you know there may be over 30 calming signals in dogs used to avoid possibly dangerous situations? Species that are meant to live in packs need great communication skills to stay out of conflict and cooperate in various circumstances. Dogs perceive any small details, from eye expression to a slight change in body posture or a quick, subtle movement. Here are just 7 of the calming signals in dogs you should learn to read or even give yourself, if the situation asks for it.
When you see another person yawning, you automatically think they are tired or incredibly bored with the conversation. Things are a bit different when it comes to our furry buddies, as yawning is, besides a sign of fatigue, also one of the calming signals in dogs. Dogs will often yawn when they are stressed. Observe your pet for yawning when interacting with assertive or unfamiliar individuals – it may be time to put some distance between them.
Your pet might suddenly stand still or sit when approached by a dog he considers more powerful. Also, remember those times you called him and he didn't want to come? As you became more and more annoyed or stressed, your voice also got sharper - and a dog can sense mood changes even a lot more subtle than this. In such a situation, instead of coming to you, did your buddy just stop and stare at you? This isn't disobedience. It's just your dog sensing your anger and trying to calm you down!
Another one of the calming signals in dogs you should know about is turning sideways. You've surely noticed your little buddy doing this when approached by a new dog. And this can work for you too. If you ever encounter a nervous or fearful dog, do not approach it directly – turn to the side and let it come to you to sniff you.
Speaking of sniffing, this is another calming signal you might not know about. How many times have you noticed your furry friend starting to busily sniff the ground when you called him using a harsh voice? Or when he noticed another dog approaching? He, again, was just trying to calm you or the other canine down. "Chill, I'm just minding my own business. I know nothing. Please ignore me."
Dogs use quick tongue flicks or nose licks to send calming signals to others or simply to calm themselves down. The movement is many times so fast that the human eye can miss it, so pay attention! Whenever you notice this behavior, you should know that something is stressing your dog - unless he has lots of peanut butter on his nose he is trying to lick off.
If you ever notice your pet suddenly starting to move as slow as a snail, know that this is, again, his way of sending a calming signal. This behavior may occur when he senses you're angry, when he sees a dog he doesn't know or when mayhem has just erupted around him. Try to do the same when you see a frightened dog. Also, since some dogs feel anxious around kids due to all that excitement and hyperactivity characteristic to them, always teach children to move very slowly and calmly when approaching your pet.
One of the cutest calming signals in dogs is pawing the air. While this behavior is often just an invitation to play, if there is no bouncing around, it may mean your dog is saying "Hey, calm down! I'm friendly, see?"
By paying attention to such signs and taking action accordingly, you can considerably improve your relationship with your pet. Have you noticed any other calming signals in dogs you'd like to share with us?
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