Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,195 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
There was a thread in general that had some posts about Calming Signals. I looked for a sticky but could not find one. I am getting old(er) but would like to read more about CS but online, it was all over the place.

Can someone make a sticky...please? Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,195 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
CP - I guess I'm not understanding the term "calming signals". In the thread I referenced, calming signals were mentioned when a boy was hugging his new dog (and the signals were not good). The pictures don't tell me what "turning the head" means. Is it good or bad? I'm so confused! :redface:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
529 Posts
A calming signal is used by the dog to avoid conflict. If the dog perceives something as a threat it may use a calming signal to try and dissuade the aggressor from a fight.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,761 Posts
Is it good or bad? I'm so confused! :redface:
It's good for the person who reads them and understands the dog is unsure/uncomfortable - the person can choose a less imposing tact to calm their dog. But it can be bad for the dog if the pressure isn't released, because after calming signals, the dog will choose between fight, flight, or freeze. The outcome can be bad then.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,406 Posts
CP - I guess I'm not understanding the term "calming signals". In the thread I referenced, calming signals were mentioned when a boy was hugging his new dog (and the signals were not good). The pictures don't tell me what "turning the head" means. Is it good or bad? I'm so confused! :redface:
Calming signals are a subtle form of communication. A dog with good social skills will notice and respond appropriately. However, humans frequently don't have good social skills when it comes to dogs (and sometimes not with our own species - we give signals too). When subtle communication doesn't get the desired results, the dog has to communicate with less subtlety so we'll "get" it. If the dog learns that humans aren't capable of responding to anything below the level of a growl, they'll communicate by growling. If we ignore or punish the growl, then they have to shout. And probably find out that, by golly, people do actually "get it" when you bite.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,372 Posts
Turid Rugaas usually gets the credit for writing a book ( and video) that documents 30 Calming Signals. See the reference posted by Curbside Prophet, above. Other people, including Vets, are aware of Calming Signals, but few people documented them to the level of Rugaas. Having said that Rugaas documented her observations, she did not have funding to perform a comprehensive research study, so there's a little variance in interpretation.

Originally, Calming Signals were said to be 'pre-aggression' signals used to avoid confrontation. If ignored, then the next step could be growling, snarling, biting, fighting, etc. Common Calming Signals including looking away and turning away to avoid staring, licking lips or nose when uncertain or anxious, Yawning (maybe with a pupsqueak) to indicate unhappiness with the current situation, shaking off indicating a change of emotional state. Less common included a one eye wink, swallowing, moving whiskers backward. I don't remember if a play bow is considered to be a Calming Signal.

Some of us use observation of Calming Signals to fine tune training, and to reduce our intensity to match the comfort of the dog.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,977 Posts
Originally, Calming Signals were said to be 'pre-aggression' signals used to avoid confrontation. If ignored, then the next step could be growling, snarling, biting, fighting, etc. Common Calming Signals including looking away and turning away to avoid staring, licking lips or nose when uncertain or anxious, Yawning (maybe with a pupsqueak) to indicate unhappiness with the current situation, shaking off indicating a change of emotional state. Less common included a one eye wink, swallowing, moving whiskers backward. I don't remember if a play bow is considered to be a Calming Signal.

Some of us use observation of Calming Signals to fine tune training, and to reduce our intensity to match the comfort of the dog.
Wally does that one eye wink/blink thing and it's freaky LOL. I think play bowing can be considered a signal, especially if they drop into it and back out. I remember asking somewhere (can't remember if it's here or where) about why Wally almost always used to come into my room, come to me, do a play bow-like "stretch" and then pop back up (instead of playbow and stay in it and slap his paws on the floor like he does now - such an instigator)

If heard that "squeaky yawn" hmm...unhappiness? I'll have to take more note of when he does it. It's not often, but I've definitely heard him do it.

I've always wondered how they pick which signal to give. For example, sometimes Wally nose licks if I suddenly turn to look at him, sometimes he'll look away or do that single-eye blinking. I remember reading somewhere that black dogs tend to nose lick more often, presumably because other dogs don't see their eye signals as well.

If seen shaking from him and it indicating a change of emotional state is interesting. I've seen it during play where if switch from one game to another. Or if we go from physical play to throwing the ball - he'll shake, but is happy/excited the whole time. I've seen shaking when he's SUPER wound up (often just the head or a really brief shake).

Calming signals are just fascinating.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,372 Posts
My dog also does a 'play-bow' stretch (as opposed to a bouncy one) when we get ready to go somewhere, or get ready for a walk... as if he's doing an atletic stretch. I do believe that is a "Whatever you want, Boss" calming signal. However, I don't think that a playing play-bow is 'considered to be a calming signal. I think it should be, b/c you can see the play-bows all the time while dogs are running and playing. Sometimes, I think I see a quick playbow during a turn, when my dog does zoomies.

The squeaky yawn is a little more interesting than I wanted for that first post.... When I came home from work, I'd stretch the dog and massage him, while he was lying on his side, by scratching a shoulder and back knee. When I hit the right spots, he'd stretch luxiously like a cat... and sometimes pupsqueak with pleasure. And, if I stopped before he was satisfied, then he'd point his mouth at me, do a wide-open, full wolf-mouth yawn with large, gleaming wide teeth (quite impressive) ... and pupsqueak... which I characterize as a complaint or unhappiness (anthropomorphic?).

I think the signlas are most subconscious, like crossing your arms or legs when defensive, or taking a step back when someone steps too closely.

I think it would be great for someone to fund a study to go from observational classification to more rigorous causal research of Calming Signals...
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top