Top 5 Body Language Calming Signals in Dogs

Here, Fila, the black playful puppy, tries to get my dog Lexi, to play. She makes herself small, lower than Lexi, to encourage her to play.

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CHARLOTTE – Continuing our series of “Top 5”, this week I’d like to help you understand calming signals. These are body language signals by dogs that are used to calm themselves down or help calm other dogs. Calming signals are used to help keep the peace and avoid fights among dogs. These signals are often given to humans too, but we don’t stop to recognize them. Understanding them better can help us understand our dog and the dogs around us.

  1. Shaking off – This is when the dog shakes off their fur as if they were wet. Putting this on cue with your dog can help diffuse situations when tension is high.
  2. Sniffing the ground/pretending to be interested elsewhere – This is used when a dog is actually thinking about the situation he’s in and trying to show another dog he’s no problem. It can be missed by humans because dogs sniff often anyway.
  3. Sitting/laying down when around another dog – One dog may sit or lay down to make themselves smaller than another dog, signaling peace.
  4. Yawning/stretching – Out of context of sleeping, sometimes a yawn is a signal of slight anxiety about a situation and helps the dog calm himself.
  5. Head turn/turning eyes away -This is polite body language when dogs meet and used to show that a dog means no harm.

Try watching your dog for signals and see how many of these you’re able to catch. Then, join us next week for the Top 5 Fake News statements!

Sit, Stay, Play Dog Training and Behavior (704) 641-1042

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