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Old 11-05-2007, 02:32 PM   #1
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Default Dog Calming Signals Interesting Read!!

The following overview, in Turid's own words, gives the essence of her theory on calming signals.
"Dogs, being flock animals, have a language for communication with each other. Canine language in general consists of a large variety of signals using body, face, ears, tail, sounds, movement, and expression. The dog's innate ability to signal is easily lost or reinforced through life's experience. If we study the signals dogs use with each other and use them ourselves, we increase our ability to communicate with our dogs. Most noteworthy of all canine signals are the calming signals which are used to maintain a healthy social hierarchy and resolution of conflict within the flock. These are skills which, when carried over to our own interactions with dogs can be highly beneficial to our relationship. Dogs have the ability to calm themselves in the face of a shock (fearful or stressful situation) and to calm each other as well. As an example let's consider the manner in which dogs meet each other. Dogs which are worried in a social situation can communicate concepts such as: 'I know you are the boss around here and I won't make trouble'. Furthermore, the boss dog is very apt to want the worried dog to realize that no trouble is intended. 'Don't worry, I'm in charge around here and I mean you no harm.' Dogs which do not signal properly can be the cause of problems."
Canine Calming Signals, The Foundation of Communication?
For a moment, let's take ourselves away from established ideas and labels concerning subordinance displays, displacement activities, rituals, drives and for a few moments think about canine body language as Turid Rugaas does.
Those of us which have the opportunity to observe a group of well-socialized dogs interacting freely may see the following calming signals:
A dog intending to use signals, upon seeing another dog in the distance, will start to move slowly. This exaggerated slow motion is a calming signal, and one which can be used early and effectively when meeting. Joggers, cars and bicycles may approach quickly and may appear as a threat.
Example: Carl and his dog Sheena were walking down a narrow city sidewalk. A young boy ran along the sidewalk in the opposite direction. Sheena was worried about this quick motion and immediately attempted, as best she could while on a tight leash, to display calming signals with her body language. Sheena was ignored by the child who was intent other things. Sheena's signals were of no use, so she resorted to threats such as barking a "get away from me" warning.
Rarely upon first meetings will dogs approach each other nose to nose. Only dogs which are very sure of the outcome of a situation will attempt to meet head on. More frequently dogs approach each other in curving lines, walk beyond each other's nose to sniff rear ends while standing side to side.
Perhaps Carl could have been more attentive, recognized a troublesome situation for his dog and helped Sheena by leading her in an arc past the oncoming child.
This curving theory has been proven time and time again. Ask any groomer or veterinarian. Most apprehensive dogs are more easily approached if not confronted head on. When approached from the side, one can gain the dog's confidence more readily. Unfortunately dogs are constantly put into situations where they must accept confrontation. It's wise to condition dogs to accept this eventuality gracefully.

"Don't make the mistake of treating your dogs like humans, or they'll treat you like dogs."


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Old 11-05-2007, 02:34 PM   #2
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Gerat post sheplvr... Ive promoted her book several times here.
It's one of the greatest littlest book's that is out there..

Im using a lot of her tips when dealing with insecure beat up rescues.

works like a charm!!
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Old 11-05-2007, 03:07 PM   #3
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Good info shep! Thanks!
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Old 11-06-2007, 12:04 PM   #4
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my old BC fly had an amusing version of 'moving slowly' if it was a big white fluffy dog :P cos at a distance, he would assume it was a sheep and start stalking it lol

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