Has your dog ever encountered another aggressive dog while walking on the street? What did your dog do? In case you haven’t noticed, your dog might have given out calming signals directed to the other dog.
Calming signals are just one of the ways of dogs’ communication with each other. These signals are intended to give an impression to another dog that he doesn’t want to fight or is not threatening in any way.
Usually, calming signals are employed whenever there is a new dog in the neighborhood. The new dog will convince the resident dogs that he is not aiming to threat them, so he would surely give out calming signals on his first walk to the park.
Remember that aggressive dogs, when first introduced, usually focuses on the other dog and attacks. If not, then he will try to bark and growl at the new dog. The good thing is, there are socialized dogs that are fond of bonding with other dogs and people.
These dogs maintain their distance away from the aggressive dog and exhibit calming signals that allows the aggressive dog to understand that he is not a threat and he shouldn’t be aggressive.
As a dog owner, you should be able to notice these signals. It is important that you are mindful of them as it would allow you to help your dog achieve a good relationship with the other dog.
Below are some of the most common calming signals that you should look out for.
1. Look away
One of the first calming signals that you could observe especially if both of the dogs are far from each other is the “look away”. The dog that would like to send out calming signals would first try to avoid eye contact with the other dog.
This would make it seem that any threat from the other dog is ignored by the dog looking away. Sometimes, the dog would make it seem like he is quickly shifting from looking towards the left then immediately shifts to the right, avoiding eye contact with the other dog.
2. Turns and moves away
Dogs that only want peace would usually turn around and move away from the threatening dog. It usually happens repeatedly, because after turning away, the dog would look back to the aggressive dog. There are many variations of this, as sometimes dogs would just turn their heads while at other times, they turn their whole bodies.
3. Sniffing the ground
This is also a method similar to looking away. Sniffing the ground will make it look like the dog was busy sniffing instead of getting focused on the other dog. Sometimes, it also looks like the dog that was sniffing the ground is ignoring the other one. Thus, the other dog would eventually stop its aggressive approach and instead play it cool.
4. Sitting with one paw up
This is another calming signal that could be easily noticed by dog owners and dogs alike. For most people, this would seem as if the dog is begging in front of them. But for the dogs, it could mean that they want to offer peace with their one paw up. When dogs go into agreement, they would both lift their paws up in place.
5. Curving around each other
Dogs, when introduced to each other, tend to sniff each other’s butts. You would also notice that they are curving around each other at first, as they are trying to feel the personality of each other. This is a calming signal that allows them to build their trust with each other.
6. Lowering ears
Some dogs that intend to submit to other dogs and make them calm is by lowering their ears flat around their face. This makes them appear smaller to other dogs which makes them appear to submit. For owners, this action makes them think that their canine companion is ‘too cute’, thus giving these dogs the ample amount of attention when they lower their ears.
7. Lip licking
As a dog owner, we couldn’t help but leave this one unnoticed. But once you knew that this is a calming signal, it will never leave your sight. Even though short tongue flicks are more common, this lip licking of dogs are highly obvious to other canine companions. Thus, this is one of the movements that an owner should really look out for.
Dogs bow by lowering their front paws, while swaying their body side-to-side and sometimes wagging their tails. This action is usually associated with playing, but you can also see it when there are two dogs that are newly introduced to each other or if there seems to be a tension between two dogs.
Unknown to many dog owners, yawning is a calming signal. Although one would think of it as just a common action, yawning is often employed by dogs whenever they feel enough tension around them, especially with another dog.
Also, yawning is frequently observed for dogs that are stressed with potential threats that they see in the area. Even though your dog is not being aggressive about it, he may still be taking action about it through the use of calming signals like yawning.
Freezing is usually associated with prey and predator mechanisms. Whenever a predator approaches a prey, the prey would usually freeze for the hopes that the predator would not notice him and go away instead.
When it comes to dogs, they usually do this in the hopes that the other dog would stop being aggressive to him. Also, you may not notice this, but dogs freeze whenever you would reprimand them verbally about something bad that they did.
The above are the top ten calming signals that you should notice when you are walking with your dogs. You will especially notice that the calming signals from another dog have worked with your dog if you would feel the leash relaxing up.
Also, your dog’s body would not be as tense as before. This means that he was able to recognize the calming signals and he would probably be able to make a new friend.
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