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perception change vs panic

I'm posting a link to another writ on dogs calming signals only because what so often gets talked about as expressions/signs of stress is also described here as a calming signal---most of which yes I knew but to put it in the context of being a calming signal changes it for me and the options open up of how I might decide to respond?

To view a yawn and a shake-off as calming signals lets me see the dog as less an overwhelmed victim and more that the dog is trying to take an active role or at least has a more optimistic role in which way an emotionally charged moment is going to go?

And to be able to see it, whatever calming signal the dog is giving, as part of a potential dialogue between dog and handler, that can if its allowed to be a dialogue, move to a more positive conclusion, rather than OH NO AHHHHHHH LOOK MY DOG IS STRESSING, THIS IS STRESSING MY DOG OUT, AHHHHHHHHH, and hitting the panic button, and getting louder and more emphatic or whatever, when I could be dialoguing in some calming signals myself and see it as the dog taking action to chill the moment out???


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 16th, 2016 07:23 pm (UTC)
In the article the writer warns of increasing your volume or getting mad because your dog is offering you calming signals rather than doing what you commanded/asked. And here you're making a good causal association with getting stressed out or panicking in a similar situation.

It's good! I often phrase it as a dog asking you questions. "Why are you messed up??" might be what they're asking ;) or maybe just "what are we worried about right now?"

I DO think often our dogs are worrying because WE STARTED IT! (meaning, started the worrying). And for some of us it's just a knee jerk reaction (just as it can be for dogs). Maybe when you see your dog stress THINK "hmm, what's causing that right now" and look INWARD first (am I causing it?) then look outward for other things like weirdo dogs approaching, race cars zooming by (we HAD that this weekend's trial!), weird smells, etc. But yeah, if they're trying to calm US... they probably have a point!

Edited at 2016-05-16 07:23 pm (UTC)
May. 17th, 2016 04:22 pm (UTC)
I need to remember these are Joey's calming signals at the start line: the scratching, sniffing, shaking.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )