Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Dog and Wolf-Dog Calming Signals: Avoidance

When dogs and wolfdogs feel uncomfortable about something they will look away or turn away entirely from the trigger. This is called avoidance.  It's one of many calming signals they use to diffuse a situation and avoid conflict.

Avoidance is also sometimes accompanied by other calming signals such as licking, or or scratching.

Bella, the german shepherd in this video usually rears and lunges at running deer, but reacts quite differently when two does with fawns turn and confront her. At first she turns her head, then her entire body to prevent what she feels will result in an attack.

Shy wolfdogs of higher content will use avoidance quite regularly when confronted with strangers. Unlike dogs, it's rare for them to bite, even when cornered.

You can help a wolfdog using avoidance feel more comfortable by not staring and pretending they are invisible.

In the animal kingdom, staring and focusing on another animal is a threat. It's means, "I want something from you." That something could be you, your food, or they want you to move on.

As you can see in the video, the deer where posturing, facing the enemy, and they did not back away until we moved on.

For more about calming signals along with a list of signals reviewed here, visit the Wolfer Magic Blog calming signal page.

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