|10-17-2013 07:18 PM|
Great post, I use these sublte eye winks to communicate to my dog, I learned about this communication when she was a pup as she would stare right into my eyes and then there was this little wink Yes I have a cheat in obedience, it is the eye wink. When in competition if I notice she is a little stressed possibly picking up my nerves, when focussed on me I give her a very subtle wink with my left eye and she is reassurred that everything is good.
While training for IPO1 also noticed eye changes that would let me know she is settled, eyes relax become larger, lets me know she is clear. Particularly useful when starting the escape bite.
|10-17-2013 01:55 PM|
When you look at dog communications, you have to look at the overall body language and at all the signals the dog is giving out - not just look at them in isolation.
For example, one of the most common questions that people ask me is: My dog looked straight into my face and made eye contact - that means he is challenging my leader position right?"
Wrong. Well, maybe. Maybe there is a small percentage of dogs out there, a VERY small percentage of dogs that are constantly trying to challenge their owners in this way, but for 99.999999999% of dogs, looking at you and making eye contact is an effort to connect with you, an effort to get your attention, and an invitation to play.
You have to look at the entire situation and the whole body language. Is the dog sitting when he is looking at you? That is not a challenge. Is he relaxed, tail wagging, or soft tail? That is not a challenge. When you look at your dog, or your dog looks at you, watch for a very quick, very subtle wink from the dog. This is a very common calming signal used when making eye contact to communicate that to you that them looking at you is NOT a challenge in anyway. It can be very quick, and very subtle, so be ready to look for it.
Dogs will do the same to each other too - winking to give calming signals - had a great example just the other day with my two - Keeta tried to get a toy away from Gryffon, and usually Gryffon defers to Keeta and lets her have his toys, but sometimes he puts his paw down and stands up for his righst - so he tells her off, and she backs off, but she is standing there looking at him, not sure where she stands in her Queen of the dog pack position now that Gryff told her off. So Gryff reassures her that he meant no harm by giving her a quick wink, and Keeta shows that she understads his peace offering by turning her head to the side and sniffing, to show that it was all in play and no offense taken.
Some people would be quick to say that Gryffon looking straight into Keeta's face was doing it to challenge her top position (he was not, thus the wink), and others would be quick to say that Keeta turning her head and sniffing the ground was 'submitting' to Gryffon's challenge of her position, but she was not, she was calming the situation to show Gryff that she accepts his apology and means no harm.
Part of all this, their entire body language was normal and relaxed, and the look in their eyes was soft - instead of focused and hard. So seeing the whole picture is important, not just one single thing and pull conclusions from that.
But watch for the wink - with some dogs, it is obvious, with others, very subtle - but once you see it, you will see how hard your dog works to show you respect.
|10-17-2013 01:11 PM|
|10-17-2013 12:08 PM|
my two cents, personally, i do not buy in to the calming signals being accurate all the time, to interpret a dog being uncomfortable. i think that all dogs are unique and display their emotions in a different manner.
When my boy seems uncomfortable, he tends to squirm away from the situation but will keep his mouth closed, maybe some lip licking but not normally. When he is excited and ready to go - seeing me put on my shoes, grabbing keys, or going for his ball, or his tug - he will often yawn quite loudly, many times, then start what i call happy panting. Yawns usually don't stop until we get outside, and he's rearing to go. That's not what i would ever call being uncomfortable or stressed.
however there are many times where i have seen my foster dogs display these clear calming signals. it is up to the human to feel for the dog, you have a special bond for that reason.
|10-17-2013 11:46 AM|
|Cstout||ChallengiSo that's a good thing then? It means he is happy and he knows the position he is in could look like he is challenging his position in our 'pack' but he wants to make sure that we know he is not trying to do that? So that's why he is yawning and licking his lips? Well, if that's the case im very happy to know that. I was worried he was still kind of stressed about the situation but he gets praise and attention so he puts himself in that position anyways. Glad to know he is most likely not stressed or uncomfortable. Thanks so much!|
|10-17-2013 01:59 AM|
Calming signals are also used by confident dogs to put less-confident dogs at ease. So when a confident dog meets a submissive dog, the confident dog may display calming signals like yawning, or ground sniffing to show the other dog that he is not a treat, and to communicate peaceful intentions.
That is what your dog is doing. It's not that he is unsure, it is that he want you to know for sure that his actions are in no way a challenge to your position. Looking over top of you, having his face close to yours, could be dominant positions, and just so you know that he is just playing and being friendly and affectionate, he is throwing in all those calming signals for you - so you don't mis-judge his intentions.
|10-17-2013 01:46 AM|
|wolfy dog||It's because he is not sure of the situation.|
|10-17-2013 01:06 AM|
Yawning and licking lips when close to our faces
I've been learning about calming signals/ behaviors of dogs and I have read that yawning and licking lips is a calming signal when a dog feels stressed/ overwhelmed and wants to calm the situation. But, Stark will come jump up to us and put himself on our chests (when were laying in bed) and want attention. He clearly puts himself in the situation, he is happy, wagging butt happy. But, he gets in our faces and yawns, and licks his lips and displays all of the signs of trying to calm the situation. So, Im wondering if he really is stressed or if he is doing those things for other reasons? I really don't think he is stressed, he does this about everyday and he seems to be thrilled.