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Dog Walking in Hoboken – Calming Signals

Category: Dog Walking | Tags:

Date: July 20th, 2017


What are calming signals in Dogs, and How to Use Them When Dog Walking in Hoboken?

Calming signals are used at an early stage to “calm” the situation and prevent things from happening with other dogs/animals/people.  They calm down nervousness, fear, noise and unpleasantness.  The signals are used for calming themselves down when they feel stressed or uneasy.  They are also used to make the others involved feel safer and understand the good intentions of the signaler.  Dogs use calming signals to make friends with other dogs or people as well.  When dog walking in Hoboken, these signals can help you avoid conflict with other dogs (and people for that matter!)

What are the actual signals?

  1. Head Turning:
    1. This signal can be a quick deliberate movement/head turn, or a dog just holding his head to one side, or a very tiny movement.  Goes along the lines of not staring a scared/aggressive dog directly in its eyes while approaching.  If a dog starts to bark or growl at you, stop moving towards him, and turn your head to one side to calm him down.  So when a dog approaches your dog, and he looks away, this is a good calming signal (as opposed to if a person turns away from you when greeting them, which is considered rude!  You’ll see a lot of behaviors are opposite of what humans are use to!).  Another dog will usually ansser by doing the same head turn, and then they will usually both greet each other happily after that.
  2. Licking the Nose:
    1. This signal may be hard to notice because it can be a quick movement of the tongue (doesn’t have to be a full lick of the nose).  So if you see dog do this whend og walking in Hoboken, he may be calming down himself or another dog or person that he sees.  Its hard for humans to imitate this calming signal though.
  3. Turning Away:
    1. This means turning your side or back to someone.  You can use this signal when a dog shows signs of nervousness or aggression towards you, or if he jumps up at you- just turn away or put your back towards him.  This is exactly what I tell people who want their dog to stop jumping on them- give them your back (do not use your hands to push him down, this is asking for more!)
  4. Softening the Eyes:
    1. This is one of my favorites, because when dogs make this signal I think they look so sweet and cute.  When dogs soften the eyes while approaching, it indicates peaceful intentions.  You can use a similar signal yourself by making the eye contact softer and more friendly.  Direct eye contact is difficult for dogs, so softening the eyes brings the intensity down.
  5. Freezing:
    1. Your dog may freeze or stand still or lie down without moving when another dogs comes to greet him.  Most of the time this is a positive calming signal, but this is a good example of getting to know your dog.  When dog walking in Hoboken and my dog Valentino freezes, but slightly lifts his head, this is an aggressive stance for him, not a calming one.
  6. Walking Slowly, or Using Slow Movement:
    1. This is a more obvious calming signal.  You will notice most when/if you give your dog a stern command, and he slowly completes the command, because he’s trying to calm the anger in your voice.
  7. Play Bow:
    1. This is the most obvious calming signal for the untrained eye.  A bow is often done in play.    You can use this signal by stretching your arms towards the ground.
  8. Sitting Down
    1. You can use this signal if your dog or another dog is stressed.  Have everyone sit down on the ground and this will help your dog feel more relaxed around strangers.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Series Dog Walking in Hoboken- Calming Signals!