07 Jan
All too often, dog owners misread the language of dogs interacting with one another. Whether it's incorrectly defining innocent play as dangerous fighting or taking too lightly what is actually aggressive behaviour, it is important to learn what dogs are saying to each other through their play.
So this is why were going to touch on some calming signals before we jump into proper dog play, since you should understand calming signals to understand dog play.
We will be sharing photos along with the calming signal name so you can understand what were talking about when we say the calming signal name.

A list of all Calming Signals

With Photo References


Lip Licking/ Tongue Flicking

Lifting A Paw

Turning Away or Turning Head Away

Walking In a Curve


Play Bow

Smiling or Smacking Lips

Tapping out 

People often mistake this calming signal for the dog wanting a belly rub.

Scratching as if he/she is itchy

Wagging Tail

Making a Soft Face

(with ears close to head)

Shake Off

Laying Down with Belly Against Ground

Excessive Licking



Here are a few more that you can understand without a photo reference

Walking slowly- this is literally how it sounds, they will walk extremely slow to try and calm the situation, this can be seen before play also as a way to calm themselves before they go have a good play.

Sitting down- common with older dogs who are not wanting to play, they will just sit and turn their back. You can see it also when dogs get a little to excited, they may just sit to try and calm themselves and the environment around them down. 

Urinating- excited/nervous peeing, the dog is letting us know this is too much for them and trying to calm down before they get to scared.

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