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How To Recognize Calming Signals

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Yawning can occur when dogs are completely relaxed, especially just before closing their eyes to go to sleep. However, it can also be a sign of nervousness and apprehension.

Did you know..
Blinking - When a dog blinks it shows friendliness or submission. The alpha dog or leader of the pack may accept the submissive individual's greetings by blinking. That means that the leader accepts the other's greetings and offers a calm response. The submissive dog blinks in return, licks its lips and champs (noisy chewing motion), which means friendliness and submission. Dogs often blink at humans when they have been too harsh or seem


Animal behaviorists believe dogs communicate calming signals to each other, which are meant to relax potential aggressors as well as calm themselves.  If you are able to observe your particular dog’s use of calming signals, experts say you can even use them your self to calm your dog during times of stress.  For example, check out your dog during particularly anxious moments: at the vet’s office or in obedience class when he does something wrong.  You will probably see your dog yawn, sniff the ground or other objects, or lick his nose.  If your dog encounters unfamiliar dogs or people at the dog park or while out on a walk, you may see him display some body language that means to say, “Look, I’m not a threat to you.”  Here are some typical signs to look for:


Try communicating with your dog in his own language.  If you own an older dog, try some of the signals to calm him down.  Older dogs are more sensitive to their owner’s body language, which may be why they seem to be able to read our minds at times.  Your dog may look at you strangely when you speak in canine language, but it just might work.