A Possible Use for Calming Signals?

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    1 – calming – they telling you i am calm, be calm too (like me and wills in “the video”)

    2 – calming – they giving signal they are calm and to tone it down to unknown quantity

    offered behaviours would be very unlikely to be the same – d1 more likely to do subtle, d2 to jump to obvious (imo) but will also be affected by past learning / success blah de blah as always 😉

    behaviours wouldnt be expected to be the same

    CS include all of what you would call appeasement / appraisal 🙂

    Claire x


    [quote author=claire wills + bonnie link=topic=13926.msg263759#msg263759 date=1237405025]

    CS include all of what you would call appeasement / appraisal 🙂


    do they?…i disagree…certainly in the light of modern portrayal


    oh need to catch up now there is suddenly loads of information…be back shortly need to do alot of re-reading  🙂

    i am coming back, this is just what i want (and need at the moment)  :yes:


    To me everything is different depending on dog and situation.

    I know Nooch but depends on what is going through his mind at that time.  So cant really say unless you know dog. 

    What would be calming one day could be appeasement the next.  Depends on dog’s interpretation of your behaviour also. 


    i disagree – calming signals are “dog language” they’re socially hereditary.  the same dog may use different ones in different situations or different dogs may all use the same ones … it depends on escalation level and the dogs own social awareness.

    Mudgie’s got it right – Calming Signals as a concept is just a group name for the behaviours Bev (& others) would call social appraisal / appeasement.  essentially the dogs socially hereditary system for “being” together in packs – they are the language of dogs as problem solvers.

    CS is just a name for the group of behaviours that you would say are appraising and appeasing its a different (you might argue blurred) way of understanding dog.

    Whatever she calls them, theres no doubt Turid has a special bond with her dogs – you may interpret it as ‘a spiritual transpersonal type bond’ or ‘subtle behavioural cues’ … depends on which lens you putteth on 😀

    Claire x


    *could someone teach Rafe how to be calm?*  ;D


    i have a slightly different take…but will wait to see what others say before i add it to the debate  🙂


    Rafe is calm … its just underneath alot of energy, excitement and general puppyness still 😀


    Sorry for the delay  🙂

    Calming signals are dog language that (I think) is the 1st instance of a situation, i.e. this is part a… two dogs see each other and react one way or another, a normal dog (bev’s dog a) may stand neutral and wait. A nervous more fearful dog (bevs dog b) may demonstrate a signal showing it is not a threat (a calming signal) ie turning away lowering its body etc etc

    I think that appeasement etc are the 2nd stage of the situation, so 2 dogs have met and have reacted, if now dog a moves towards dog b (still in a neutral stance) dog b may then show appeasement…reinforcing that he is not a threat.

    Yes I think calming signals are a bit of an umbrella slogan to cover body language which (it seems) has come fro studying dogs in the same way pervious phrases have come from studying captive wolves, such as the alpha roll blah blah  I also think that the dogs knowledge of body language etc can only be learned through socialisation with other dogs, just like izzie’s pup thread where pup is mimicking jess, ok some may ne natural to in order for a dog to learn what it means to other dogs there has to be dog-dog interaction I don’t think we can teach a dog, dog language (that’s another discussion).

    My previous example of beau moving towards ben in a large arch when he is laying down (not sleeping) is when beau wants to try to interact with him, he is walking the long way around saying I’m coming to see you….this for me is step 1 of the interaction, step 2 is from bens reaction to this, either he will accept beau is coming and wants something (to play whatever) and will adjust his body in readiness to be pounced on,  or he will show beau he is not allowing this by glaring at him, snarling at him whatever and beau will flop down and show appeasement, he does the flop and roll very well….

    So I guess what I’m saying is I think calming signals are stage 1 of a greet and the agonistic (which include aggressive and fear response signals such as appeasement) and affiliative (which are pro-social signals) are stage 2 of that greet.

    Hopefully this wasn’t too babbly and you understand what I’m trying to say, I don’t explain myself very well and learning and applying new terminology is very interesting and I am very good and getting things very wrong lol



    read my post again kerry…both dog do the same thing but each dog is different in terms of nature/nurture  🙂

    and for now lets just stick to the one you mentioned…the curve…what i call the horseshoe crab walk  🙂


    ok – crabbing …

    i know i can effect a calmer more controlled greet with william by forcing a crab approach than if i continue straight at the dog – this is one of the things i learned at SHCE 🙂  I took William so we actually got to demonstrate this !!

    he is much less anxious in his approach, less squeaky, less skittly, less whiney/barky, less stiff, more relaxed, more listening to me etc etc ….. and as a result more likely to engage in displacement to keep himself this way than to let anxiety/panic overcome him.

    Claire x


    yep claire..so calming, appeasement, appraisal?…because your take is that calming signlas are the same as appeasement or appraisal …unless i have mis read / understand posts..which is possible  🙂



    I’m not sure you’ve got that quite right … will clarify 🙂

    My understanding of them from Turid’s video + book is that CS are the same as appeasement / appraisal in the sense that I see CS as a collective term for behaviours relating to A&A. 

    e.g. you could have one CS in one situation which you would see as offering appraisal, and the same (or a different) CS in another situation that you would see as offering appeasement.

    They have a contextual component to them is my understanding.

    In the William example he is ‘keeping himself calm’ by doing these behaviours which will undoubtedly be offering some sense of A&A to me & the other dog … (i think)

    Claire x


    no..i did understand then that that where you at  🙂
    so am back to my take on it…will post that when others have answered  🙂


    Her work which led to the forumlation of CS was observation (iphotographs & video) and review of contextual behaviours and noting their outcomes.  I would guess she coded it in a kind of thematic analysis type way and any behaviours which led to ‘de-escalation’ or maintained ‘neutral’ she would have grouped into CS.

    The concept is based around survival – injury / conflict is “bad” so we avoid this – they need communicative skills to warn each other of “bad” and live as a pack.

    There are about 30 + signals …

    I can use Wills as he has alot of coping strategies (which is what I liken them to really)

    head turning
    play bow
    sniffing ground
    walking slow
    sitting with 1 paw up
    tail wag
    urinating on himself (not now)

    This is almost the entire list of common ones from her website and William does ALL of the above without any cue etc … in the context of trying to calm himself and the situation.

    I can also recognise that you have appeasement, appraisal, displacement …. all sorts in there – thats what CS are tho … a heterogenous group of behaviours which Turid & co-workers coded as ‘calming’

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