View Full Version : Calming Signals

27th November 2007, 02:49 PM
Turid Rugaas discusses calming signals dogs use in communication with each other, and that we, as their humans, can use to better our relationships with our dogs.

I use these as second nature now, and probably don't even realize that I do them! For those of you interested here's a link:


27th November 2007, 07:12 PM
Thanks for posting this, it's excellent. I'm getting the book today!

28th November 2007, 12:51 AM
Thanks for that great link; I didn't know she had a website. All these things are so true! People end up punishing the dog for doing things that are polite in dog language. Since I learned about the appeasement signs from Tara, Lisa and US trainer Dee (www.deesdogs.com) it has really been so helpful in reading what they are thinking.

I collected a rescue dog today that I had been told was bold and aggressive. It was easy to read from his body language that he was a mostly happy, confident dog who could just be a bit anxious and might be a bit reactive as a result -- should be easy to rectify. He conveyed all this pretty clearly. He has also clearly been punished by his previous owner who couldn't read when he was getting frustrated or scared. And I believe also by a trainer who 'worked with him'. :rolleyes: he gave off all sorts of these appeasement signals when meeting me and other people and several dogs. And was quite eager and happy and playful.

Cathy T
1st December 2007, 01:13 AM
That was an excellent read! Thanks for posting it.

1st December 2007, 01:46 AM
What a great article. This is the first time I heard of these things. Thank you! :thnku:

1st December 2007, 02:19 AM
My trainer gave me information about calming signals back in 2001. She's "into" all sorts of animal communication. She's great.... rather a hippie, very natural and honest and the most wonderful woman.

I'm so glad all of you have enjoyed reading about these signals. They truly do help a human understand where their dogs are coming from a bit better.

1st December 2007, 02:30 AM
That was excellent! Thank you for sharing it.

1st December 2007, 03:05 PM
This trainer of mine shows a video to go along with her talk on calming signals. After speaking, she asks us to count the instances we notice of calming signals being offered by the dog in the video. Afterward she re-runs it in slo mo and points them out. This reallly helped illustrate just how often dogs are offering these communication skills. It helped me learn to watch the tiny nuances in their behavior.

For example, right now I have a nice cup of coffee and a yummy piece of banana nut bread, and Bentley on my lap eyeing it. He really wants them, and knows he can't have them which creates a dilemma for him. He is faced slightly away from me, and shifts his eyes toward me and licks his lips. All communication signals about how much he wants this food and his nervousness over that. He's asking me to stay calm, but to please give him some! :rolleyes:

1st December 2007, 06:55 PM
Boy do I feel dumb now!! I missed all the signs!! My dog is telling me things and I was giving him heck for it!! Shame on me!

But on the bright side, now I can start to understand what he is telling me. THanks!!!!

1st December 2007, 08:28 PM
I picked up the Turid Rugaas book a few weeks ago. Boy, what a difference it makes. When we're out walking and the dog's agitated because we see another dog, I sit down next to her (yes, mother taught me not to sit on the street, but this is my dog's happiness we're talking about) and she calms right down. When she comes flying at me, and I mean flying, to lick my face I turn my head or yawn, and all four paws hit the floor without making contact with me first. When she then sits down in front of me and turns to the side, she's saying "no harm meant".

It's great fun to watch other dogs and interpret what they're saying.

2nd December 2007, 12:18 AM
This is so good. Freckles had an off day yesterday( puppymill flashback?) and I concentrated hard on signals and he overcame his thoughts in a very satisfying time-makes you feel empowered with knowledge.
I was giving Lecture 101 to all and I saw Annie look at Freckles and I know she said "Do we care?" Must have been telepathy but I swear I heard it LOL.

22nd December 2007, 04:05 AM
thank you--what a fascinating article---i've really been enjoying watching for indy's signals and giving him my own. it's so nice learning to communicate in our cavvies' language! i'm putting the book on my christmas list.

27th December 2007, 06:58 PM
We were introduced to Turid Rugaas about 3 yrs. ago by our trainer. Ms. Rugaas' videos are also very helpful. Who knew that yawning and turning away could calm an aggressive dog! We were amazed to find over and over that the techniques worked. We do alot of fostering and it has helped us understand the dogs who come to us. Really worth exploring if you are not familiar with her work.

29th December 2007, 04:16 PM
It is amazing, isn't it? The signals are so subtle you barely notice them. Our trainer showed us a video of our class and asked us to watch for calming signals. Of course, a bunch of nervous dogs in a class were flashing signals all over the place. She slowed the video down and we counted over 100 lip licks from one dog in under 10 minutes!

The great thing is you keep learning! As time goes by you're able to notice more subtle things, and a lot of it is subconscious. Very cool!

Claire L
7th January 2008, 06:26 PM
I ordered this book from Barnes & Noble the other day :w**h**:I can't wait to get it now. Thanks for posting about it Barb :flwr:

8th January 2008, 09:46 AM
My husband has been having problems with Cessa "humping" his leg and not responding when he asserts himself. (She's better with me--I've been doing her training and he's more her best buddy and preferred playmate). Then, last night, he told me that after he told her "no" when he put her on the floor when she flew up into his lap without being invited (she's trained to sit in front of the chair if she wants up) she lay down on the floor, stomach down, in front of him. He thought that she was "apologising", I pulled out the Turid Rugaas book and showed him the bit about that being what senior dogs do to calm junior dogs.

He's now starting to set more boundaries with her, like going through the door first and moving her when she's curled up at night in a position that makes it difficult for him to sleep--we'll see what happens.