Your dog has many ways of communicating with you, and you’re probably familiar with a number of them. A friendly tail wag to say hello, for instance, or a persistent pawing on your leg when it’s time for a treat.
Dogs may also use calming signals, which describe a method of communication used to promote peace and stave off aggression within the pack. Dogs, remember, are pack animals, like wolves, and they display calming signals to let others know that they’re friendly and to help diffuse stressful situations.
The term “calming signals” was coined by Norwegian canine ethologist Turid Rugaas.1 As she explained, dogs are incredibly perceptive and can be trained to respond to a whispered command. However, many owners believe a loud, firm voice must be used to show their dog who’s boss.
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