7 Calming signals all pet parents should know

“Calming signals” is a term that was developed by Turid Rugaas, and are signals and techniques that dogs use to avoid potentially threatening situations and to calm their nerves. Dogs do these all the time, and you have probably noticed some of these already!

• Head Turning/Avoiding Eye Contact. Dogs do this when they feel uncomfortable, or when they feel threatened by another dog or person.

• Lip Licking.

• Freezing or walking very slowly.

• Play bow. We see this very often in play, and the bowing dog is showing the other dog his intentions – “I just want to play!” Sometimes dogs will also do this when a situation becomes too overwhelming to try and lighten the situation.

• Yawning when you know she isn’t tired.

• Sniffing. A dog that sniffs a lot at the dog park or sniffs around the room, avoiding everyone else and/or the other dog in the room probably feels uncomfortable. Some level of sniffing is normal and expected, but when that’s all your dog does, it’s likely to be a calming signal (don’t pay attention to me, I’m not a threat).

• Curving around another dog when meeting them. A dog coming straight at another dog is rude, so dogs generally give each other a wide berth when coming in to meet or say hi.