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Calm Dog with Calming Signals- Part 2

PART 2 OF THE SERIES – Calm Dog with Calming Signals

More Signals to Have a Calm Dog

8.  Down: Lying down on his back, belly up, is submission, and lying down with his belly to the ground.  You can use it when your dog is stressed and trying to get attention, lie down either on the sofa or ground to calm dog.

9.  Yawning:  Your dog may yawn in many situations, such as when you go into the vet’s office, when there is a loud fight, when a child goes to hug him, etc.  You can use it when your dog feels uncertain, a little bit scared, stressed or you want him to calm down a bit.

10.  Sniffing:  Sniffing can be a swift movement down towards the ground and up again.  Or a dog may continue to stand with his nose down to the floor until the problem is over.  However, dogs also like to sniff to explore, so you need to look at the whole situation to be sure what it is.  Its hard for people to use this signal themselves, but if you want to try you can sit on the ground and pretend to scratch the grass or examine something on the floor.

11. Curving:  This signal happens a lot in the city life, since our dogs are on leashes, and is the best way for dogs to meet!  You’ll often see two dogs curving their bodies, and sniffing each other’s behinds, or one sniffing while the other turns away.  Mature dogs usually do not go straight toward each other, because it is impolite to do so (puppies on the other hand don’t know this yet!)  You can use this signal easily, but not approaching a scared dog directly, or even changing directions a little first

12. Wagging Tail:  A wagging tail is NOT always a sign of happiness.  You need to look at the whole picture in order to interpret it.  If the dog is crawling towards you, whining, or peeing, the wagging tail is a white flag, trying to make you calm down.  You cannot use this signal, because you have no tail to wag 🙂

Calm Dog

Non-Calming Signals

There are other types of signals too, like staring, walking straight towards someone, standing over another dog, growling, barking, showing teeth, these are all threatening signals.  Other signals can be excitement such as raising of hackles and tails.

Observing all of these signals is important in your dog and in other dogs.  Observe your dog at home, when visitors come, etc.  While out walking your dog, or at the park, observe all the dogs behavior at the park, its quit amazing how quickly you’ll pick this up and learn how to have a calm dog.

The Stressed Dog

A dog feels stressed just as humans, when they feel unable to cope.  Usually when they get stressed they start to use calming signals to try to ease the stress.  SO knowing these calming signals will help you to see when your dog is feeling stressed.

A dog with constant high stress will be much more likely to get stomach problems, allergies, and heart trouble.  They will be faster and more violent in their defense.

What makes a dog stressed?

  1. Direct threats such as violence, anger, aggression in his environment
  2. Jerking at the lead, pushing him down, pulling him along
  3. Too many demands in training and daily life
  4. Too much exercise for young dogs
  5. Too little exercise.  If you need help exercising your pup, just give us a call- Whiskers and Leo Pet Care!
  6. Hunger
  7. Too much noise
  8. Being alone
  9. Too much over excited play with balls etc
  10. Never being able to relax
  11. Sudden changes

For example, a dog can become stressed and therefore aggressive because of its environment, and yes of course it can be genetic, but more often than not, its something in the dog’s life.  There is no reason or excuse to punish , be violent, threatening or forceful towards a dog or demand too much of him.  All of these things can make a dog stressed, and stress can make him ill.  He can become reactive more quickly, showing aggression because he has a higher defense mechanism.

How to Identify Stress:

  1. Restless
  2. overreaction
  3. use of calming signals
  4. Scratching
  5. biting himself
  6. diarrhea
  7. shaking
  8. chasing his tail
  9. panting
  10. shivering
  11. loss of appetite
  12. allergies
  13. Fixation on certain things- glimpses of light, flies
  14. Looking nervous
  15. behaving aggressively

What can we do about stress in our dogs? Some basic ideas….

  1. Teach ourselves to see, identify and use calming signals!!
  2. Change environment and routines wherever possible
  3. stop using harsh methods, violence and painful things in training (like shock collars, prongs etc)
  4. Avoid hunger, Thirst, extreme cold or heat.
  5. Make sure he has the opportunity to go to the bathroom as much as he needs- again, if you need help exercising your pup, just give us a call- Whiskers and Leo Pet Care!
  6. find your dog’s correct level of exercise, not too much or too little
  7. Let the dog be part of the pack as much as possible
  8. closeness, touching, massage, lying close together without keeping your dog there by force

One of the best ways to reduce stress and have a calm dog is to be able to communicate with dogs.  When you can make yourself understood by dogs, its a wonderful feeling- calming signals are the key!