In the wild, pack animals need a way to communicate with their fellow pack members as well as those from other
Sometimes, an animal will send out signals to other animals to let them know that they are not a threat. These
signals are necessary in order to avoid any conflicts that might arise.
In a domestic setting, the dog will give out these signals in situations where they feel intimidated or
These signals are meant to calm the person to whom they are directed at. However, it is common for humans to
misread these signals or fail to notice them at all.
Understanding the calming signals your dog gives you, puts you in a better position to strengthen the
relationship between you and your dog as well as to rectify your actions so that the dog. Since these signals are
meant for other members of the canine community, you might dismiss them as simply boredom or fatigue, but if you
watch closely enough you will be able to see them and decipher their meaning.
Calming signals that are commonly used by dogs include
Most people will see this signal and dismiss it as a sign of boredoms. Dogs commonly use this when they feel
anxious such as during training, in presence of other dogs they see as aggressive, when you scold them or raise
your voice at them. It could also be a sign of fear and at times the dog may be just sleepy.
- Licking the nose
This is mostly coupled with other signals and is easily missed since the licking is usually fast. Dogs will lick
their noses when scolded, when in a situation that causes them stress and to avoid
- Turning away of the head
This is swift turning away and is usually meant to calm the aggressor. This turning could be slight towards the
side or complete. When dogs are engaged in play and things get a bit rough the dog may turn away so that things can
calm down, dogs will usually turn away on meeting a strange dog they see as a threat. As a human, you can also use
this signal to show the dog that you are not comfortable, if a dog jumps on you or is rough towards you can turn
away and give time for the dog to calm down.
- Sniffing the ground
Dogs have a strong sense of smell. They use their nose to explore their environment and may also use this as a
way to calm themselves or the people around them. When dogs meet each other for the first time, they will usually
sniff each other as a way of greeting.
Sniffing on the ground may be for several reasons. If your dog is using this as a calming signals, it will be in
situations where he is stressed. It could be seen out in the street when you’re walking and your dog sees an
approaching dog, he may start sniffing on the ground.
Dogs will show different signals and some dogs will not show these signals at all. In order to understand them,
it is necessary that you carefully study the dog, in situations where they might be distressed or nervous.