Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Calming Signals

The full title is On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals by trainer and behaviorist Turid Rugaas.

"The vacuum cleaner makes this dog feel threatened. She lies down in order to indicate her discomfort at being in this situation." Uh, right. If a dog is uncomfortable it's going to lie down and rest.

"Scratching is often the dog's way of showing stress." Couldn't be 'cause it has an itch.

Other signals a dog is feeling emotionally stressed and threatened and is trying to calm itself or another down include panting, yawning and licking their own muzzle.

Give me a break.


Guppy said...

Casper lays down in front of the vacuum when I have it out... He's asking to be vacuumed... he goes belly up and falls asleep while he gets a massage...

C-Myste said...

But I'll buy the "yawning" thing at least with Phoebe. She honestly does use it on us when she tries to calm us down. She thinks we're being aggressive when we try to do her nails :-)

Léo said...

Celie yawns too when she's stressed. And I can see where some of these behaviors might be used when stressed and trying to calm down. The problem is they are also used at other times and the book doesn't address how to identify one from the other.
The dog in the vacuuming photo I mentioned isn't looking worriedly over her shoulder or trying to hide. It's important to look at the whole picture rather than a single behavior. Works that way with people too, IMO.
I think people who take this book too seriously will end up babying their dogs too much and create more problems.