Calming Signals for Training a Dog

Some people may notice these calming signals when a dog approaches slowly with their head down. 
Calming Signals for Training a Dog

Last update: 29 November, 2018

If you’re nervous, you can’t teach your pet to follow your directions. Also, you won’t be able to reassure your dog when they’re frightened. Due to these reasons, calming signals are essential for training your dog. So, read this article to find out all about them.

Calming signals for training: learn the language

You’ve probably seen your dog approach you slowly with their tail between their legs and head down after you’ve scolded them for misbehaving. In addition to this being a sign of submission, they move slowly because they’re trying to calm themselves down.

Yes, you read that right. Animals have different techniques to calm themselves down, just like humans when they meditate, listen to classical music, or take a bath. When something stresses or worries a dog, they will yawn, sniff, lower their head or walk slowly.

Calming signals in pets are movements or gestures that they use to get rid of tension. That’s why it’s important to know and use them when you want to teach your pet something.

Dogs inherited these tension-lowering signals from their ancestors, wolves, who also used them in order to live together in a pack, avoid fighting, prevent stressful situations, and to act forcefully when other animals would attack.

calming signals for training like this one are really productive

How to use calming signals to train a dog

Once you understand how these signals work, as an owner, you should offer your dogs the same sense of security and peace. You shouldn’t forget that your pet looks up at as if you were the leader of the pack — the alpha male or the beta female. They expect you to act just like them.

Animals understand body language because that’s how they communicate. Therefore, calming signals for training must follow the same guidelines that the dog understands.

Your pet perceives everything through his senses, especially olfactory, auditory, and visual. In addition, he has the ability to recognize small details, insignificant signs, and subtle changes in our behavior or voice tone. 

One of the things we must remember is that it’s not necessary to shout in order to get our dogs to obey. Neither should we be nervous or talk a lot. Calming signals for training are the best strategy, and the most effective.

Depending on his breed or at what age he was trained, a dog can understand more than 30 calming signals in his lifetime. This “gestural vocabulary” allows him to express emotions like: distrust, fear, tranquility, peace, conflict, friendship, play, happiness, agreement, and more.

Dog showing that he is sorry for acting bad

Dogs understand each other perfectly well, both animals they live with, and ones they have never seen before. But the problem is that they also use this language with humans…and we don’t understand it!

Failure to interpret the signals reduces our chances of training our dogs properly and getting good results. And while most of these signals are the same for all dogs, you must pay close attention to how yours responds to certain stimuli.

After using a somewhat aggressive tone of voice with your dog, they might yawn, lick their nose, look away from you, or cover their face with their front paws. With those signals, they’re saying that you need to calm down. At the same time, they’re doing everything they can to reassure you. They’re trying to make a truce with you!

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t correct them for misbehaving or stop giving them orders. However, learn how to interpret your pet’s language is really important. Calming signals for training are indispensable and will be very useful. So, try your best to learn how to recognize them!

The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.