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Since I've learned more about dog body language, I've noticed my dog doing (what seems to me) a fair amount of lip licking, yawning, and head turning. I'm not sure this is a case of just seeing calming signals in everything or if it's actually an issue. On the chance that she does feel threatened by me, what can I do? By nature, I'm very quiet, gentle, patient - the exact opposite of threatening - so I'm not really sure how to respond.

As an example, putting on her collar or easy walk harness elicits licks, yawns, and/or head turns, so I've started pairing the collar/harness with treats (when I remember). I should probably crouch down instead of bending at the waist, too.

What else can I do? It's very upsetting to think that my dog could be frightened of me.

Thanks!
 

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Honestly, calming signals are social signals that may not be a sign of fear, or even an undue degree of stress. Some dogs are very free with calming signals, and I would rather see a dog who gives them than a dog who is already tense past the point of being able to communicate that way. When I went to a seminar with Turid Rugaas (the original Calming Signals lady) she had us bend over our dogs. Almost every dog offered a calming signal (my Alice gave a lip lick) Getting in a dog's space bubble creates a little social pressure, and most dogs respond to it - just as you might want to step back when someone gets in your space bubble.
 

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Thanks for the explanation, Pawz. I've wondered the same thing with our dog. She shows these signals less with me than with anyone else, but still, I've always wondered.
 

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Thanks, Pawz. It helps to know that she might just be expressive, not scared. She is a bit of a diva ;)

How cool that you were able to attend a seminar with Rugaas! That must have been a great experience.
 
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