Calming Signals – Postures Diagram


Dogs have a communication system. It is non verbal. It is also universal among all dogs regardless of country of origin or breed/mix type. It is a language which emphasizes cohesiveness. Dogs use it to avoid conflicts. It’s their way of saying “I mean no harm”. It is much more important to a dog to avoid conflict than to be obedient. It is a way that they calm themselves and those around them.

Signs of Stress in Dogs: Ears back, body Lowered, retracted Lips, tail tucked under, averted eyes. Dogs offer what are referred to as “calming signals”. These are a dog’s way of communicating to other dogs and people about how they feel. When they offer them other dogs typically respond. Which in turn calm a dog. Unfortunately, human don’t recognize these signals and thus ignore them; making a dog more stressed. It is our responsibility to detect such displays and react in a fashion that will calm a dog. We can offer these calming signals to a dog whereby calming them. By doing so we increase our ability to communicate with them. Thereby alleviating their stress and reducing the anxiety.

Example of Calming Signals: Yawning, sniffing, lip licking, squinted eyes, shedding, turn head, “look aways”.

If and when you see a dog experiencing stress remove the dog from the situation. Each and every dog has their own stress threshold of what they can and can’t handle. When a dog displays any of the above signs and/or signals; it is our responsibility to help them.