Calming Signals Discussion

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Calming Signals Discussion

This is a discussion on Calming Signals Discussion within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; thanks. im really looking for something like this, great share mate...

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Old 02-02-2011, 11:24 PM
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Calming Signals Discussion

thanks. im really looking for something like this, great share mate
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Old 02-03-2011, 12:10 PM
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I love calming signals.

Ever since I first heard about them and read Turid's book, I look for them whenever I can.

It helps that Wally throws a LOT of them, even at me, even though he's all wound up and more confident. Seems to run the gamut too - from blinking one eye (creepy) or having one eye "smaller" than the other (just as creepy) to yawns, to 10000 nose licks, look-aways, even some sniffing the ground once in a while (not often).

I've always wondered if there's an order to how dogs use them, sort of like a "grammar" to them. Why do some dogs use some signals more than others? Do certain signals get used in certain situations more frequently? Which signals tend to indicate the dog is calming himself vs calming another creature? Is there some other posture that can give a clue (like if the dog is panting, and he yawns, would that indicating calming himself? Or if he's looking at someone and yawns, is that calming the person?)

I wish I knew more about them. I use them a lot to Wally since he uses them at me. I seem to be good about yawning at him, he often gets message and I get a signal back. I can't do look-aways since that's as much a signal during shaping.

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Old 02-03-2011, 01:00 PM
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Here's an article about calming signals:

Calming Signals Community


How many have you seen your dogs do?

Here's some others I've seen Wally do:


Walking/Moving Slowly - especially if I start getting a little agitated in training or he's having a bad day.

Play bow - including sometimes running all fast up to me and then going into a bow and then coming back up. Probably a signal that he didn't mean anything by running up to me. Also sometimes if I'm just looking at him and he's barking, he'll bow and bark, not sure if this is play or he's saying "I'm not barking AT you, just want to tell you something" or "I'm just excited!"

Freezing - I see this a lot if I catch Wally doing something I don't want him doing, and I'm like "HEY!" He won't get away from what he's doing, he'll just stay there, like a statue. If I direct him to come to me (I don't use recall of course), he'll move slowly (another signal) and sometimes lie down waaaay away (more signals). I've also seen him do this is I'm walking towards him to get him away from something (say food on the ground) and I walk towards him as he's backing up, after a while, he'll just stop moving. Then I'll stop.

Sitting down - Wally will do this too if I get a little to "animated" in my training. He'll slowly sit, sometimes yawn. The only time he sat with his back turned to me was when I first started walking him, he wanted nothing to do with it lol

Lying down - pretty much the same reason as sitting down.

Walking in a curve - all the time, he'll do this if we're walking near each other and if there's room, he'll curve around me instead of just passing side by side.

Might have seen some of the others too - just can't remember off hand
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Old 02-03-2011, 02:28 PM
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Oh! Good article KB! I bet there is other good info on that site.

I also have seen many signals amongst my three, especially eye blinking, lip licking, yawning, and turning their heads.
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Old 02-03-2011, 02:46 PM
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I am just now learning about the world of Calming Signals so I don't have much to add at this point other than the fact that I think learning how to use them and recognize the ones Honey is giving me will really help our relationship and her stress. I am going to try doing the "yawn" with Honey when she's stressed and and see if she recognizes what I'm trying to convey to her.
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:08 PM
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This is perhaps the best, most educational, most important thread Ever!
I love the videos, especially the third one in Kmes's original post. Just amazing!

I use calming signals with my dog Josey all the time. He is CONSTANTLY throwing them out, and he is immensely reassured if I reciprocate. Until I learned some calming signals, I cannot imagine how my poor, nervous boy felt with all the clumsy "ape body language" he had to sort through from me.

Some of the things I do with him
- first off I don't stare at him... that makes him nervous, so I limit direct eye contact then divert away, and give him a bit of a slow blink sometimes
- I don't stride right up to him and tower over him, but rather a walk more slowly to him, even take a curved path and am gentle with my eyes if I need to approach him about something.
- He loves it if I get low on the floor with him. He comes right over and licks my face. If I'm really high above him, he is more tentative and generally keeps a bit of distance (interestingly his mother was like this too, when we met her, but I did not understand it at the time)
- If I lie on the floor he loves that, and comes over and buries his head in my neck/shoulder and snuggles, then usually flops down for a prolonged cuddle. I'm pretty sure he loves this because this is what he and Tessa do when they are particularly relaxed together. I consider me getting on the floor a "calming signal" because I see Josey and Tessa doing this as an invitation for light wrestling/play/snuggling. It seems to be a very inviting and friendly gesture.
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:16 PM
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I consider me getting on the floor a "calming signal" because I see Josey and Tessa doing this as an invitation for light wrestling/play/snuggling. It seems to be a very inviting and friendly gesture.
Laying down is a calming signal



"Laying down with the belly against the ground. This has nothing to do with submission - submission is when the dog lays down with the belly up. Laying down with the belly towards the ground is a calming signal."
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:39 PM
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Laying down is a calming signal



"Laying down with the belly against the ground. This has nothing to do with submission - submission is when the dog lays down with the belly up. Laying down with the belly towards the ground is a calming signal."
OK good! Because the dogs love it when I'm on the floor with them.

Is it bad if I lie on my back? They love to lick my face when I do this! Then they often get all playful and happy and end up wrestling with each other right near me. Its like a big piggy pile of happy energy.
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:12 PM
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OK good! Because the dogs love it when I'm on the floor with them.

Is it bad if I lie on my back? They love to lick my face when I do this! Then they often get all playful and happy and end up wrestling with each other right near me. Its like a big piggy pile of happy energy.

Nah.

Nothing wrong with that. You probably put them so at ease or they are like "oh look let's get momma!" and they get all playful and then it just makes them play with each other and stuff.
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:33 PM
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Nah.

Nothing wrong with that. You probably put them so at ease or they are like "oh look let's get momma!" and they get all playful and then it just makes them play with each other and stuff.
Yeah, that's been my interpretation of their reactions. They get so relaxed and happy, waggy and playful. They are very non-dominant, almost timid type of dogs, so any time I can set them at ease is good. They have very "soft" temperaments. They are teaching me so much I never knew about dogs because of their more delicate sensitivities!
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