How to Identify Calming Signals in Dogs

Calming signals are very important for dogs and how they use them with each other and with humans. In this video, Norwegian dog trainer Turid Rugaas shows how to identify a few of these signals so that you can “talk” better with your dog and better understand what they are trying to communicate to others.

Rugaas is a noted expert on canine body language and talks about the different calming signals, which are the signals dogs give other dogs and humans that denote stress. These are dogs attempt to defuse situations that otherwise might result in fights or aggression.

For instance, play bowing and turning of the head can make a up-close situation less intimidating.


If a dog turns his back to someone, this is also a way in which a dog is trying to calm someone down.

If a dog licks his/her lips and turns his/her head in an encounter, he/she is signaling that they are stressed. It can happen very quickly, but it’s important to note this behavior, especially when dogs are interacting with children.

Walking in a curve is also a signal of a dog being less threatening to another dog.

You can calm an initial meeting of your dog with a strange new dog by not walking in a direct, straight path to the other dog.

Have you noticed your dog making any of these signals?

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