Sunday, October 09, 2011

Calming Signals

"On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals" by Turid Rugaas is a fascinating 75-page book that every dog owner should own.  ($12.95 at  This book provides invaluable insight into the secret language of dogs.  Dogs use calming signals to diffuse stressful situations, to calm themselves and to calm other dogs (and humans).  Calming signals include body postures, sniffing the ground, looking away, scratching, yawning, and licking the nose.  

The Canon ELPH 100 shoots 8.3 frames per second (continuous shooting mode).  Usually, this amounts to a whole lot of the same BUT, occasionally, this captures something SPECTACULAR.  

There were yips of delight when this sequence was viewed upon downloading.

Tunder and I love to wrestle and play-bite each other (just not usually on top of Uncle Tyro).  Notice that Tyro has his head turned away from the "action."

Tyro turns his head further away from the tooth-gnashing and vocalizations.

Tyro turns his head even further away.

With a lick of my nose, I calm myself
and signal to Tunder that I need to take a break.

Tunder mirrors my action and calms himself.

With the stillness, Tyro returns his head to a neutral position.


P.S.  Had we been too boisterous for Tyro's liking, he would have issued us
       a "cool it" growl.


  1. Excellent post! I learned a ton from that book and have used some of the techniques as a human (yawn, look away) to diffuse a few tense greetings from dogs with inappropriate greeting skills.

  2. Ditto! Excellent series of shots & behaviours.

  3. Love those pictures- they are too cute. Thanks for the book rec- I'll add it to my wishlist.