Calming Signals and Being Gentle

I’ve been working on understanding how to be a calmer person with a simple life. With adopting our second rescue pup (Olivia, who joins Gertie), we get to see them learn and play together. And, they need more support to be gentle with each other while ensorcelled with so much puppy energy. We’re doing more obedience training, and I started reading on dog-to-dog communication, and found a book on calming signals.

For dogs, calming signals include yawning, licking lips, walking in a curve, play bows, and more. As Wikipedia explains:

Calming signals is a term conceived by Norwegian dog trainer and canine ethologist, Turid Rugaas, to describe the patterns of behavior used by dogs when interacting with each other in environments that cause heightened stress and when conveying their desires or intentions. The term has been used interchangeably with “appeasement signals.” Calming signals, or appeasement signals, are communicative cues used by dogs to de-escalate aggressive encounters or to prevent the development of aggressive encounters completely.

This is super helpful to know for dogs, and makes me wonder: what would a calming signal with humans be? We know quick and clear bad movements (e.g., eyerolling which is a sign of contempt). But, I am not sure what are the best quick and clear good movements to help people feel welcome, calm, and makes a space gentler and safer?

There are many great resources on how to be gentler with ourselves, and I appreciate all of them! Some things are really helpful for self calm like the 3-3-3 rule (1, look around and name three things you see; 2, name three sounds you hear, 3, move three body parts, like ankle, fingers, arm). I’m looking forward this year to learning more self calm practices, and to learning more calming signals to share with others.