As part of the continuing series on Behavior Adjustment Training (BAT), a system created by Grisha Stewart that trainer Irith Bloom has been kind enough to explain to me — and you –on the last several Training Tuesdays,  here’s a video that Irith put together. It demonstrates calming signals, discussed in our last post on the topic. It’s so riveting that I didn’t even need to come up with bat puns, verbal or visual.

Everything is pretty much self-explanatory, or explained in the notes to the video (click through to the YouTube site itself to read those).  I loved the part where Irith asks which dogs responded appropriately to the calming signal —  a quick test I could pass! I also loved the calming music, which Irith told me was Minuet by Boccherini.

Irith Bloom is the owner of The Sophisticated Dog, a pet training business offering services to clients on the Westside of Los Angeles. She specializes in clicker training and other pet-friendly methods of animal training and behavior modification. Irith is a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner) and a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT). You can see more of her writing on her Sophisticated Dog website, on Karen Pryor Clickertraining’s website and on

15 thoughts on “Training Tuesday: BAT Calming Signals, Some Visuals”

  1. Thank you! That was a very well done video.

    The dog park scenes in particular raised questions for me. Do we take dogs to meet other dogs because it’s enjoyable for them? Or because it’s enjoyable for us?

    Although some dogs love socializing, others look like an introverted spouse at their partner’s office Christmas party–very uncomfortable and anxious to go home.

    1. I love the analogy of the dog park/office party. And yes, I realized after trying a few times that the dog park was something I thought I *should* be doing for him, not something my dog actually liked.

    2. Pamela,

      First of all, I’m so glad you liked the video!

      Second, I agree with you completely about dog parks. (In fact, I recently wrote a tip on Dogster that addresses this issue peripherally. Hopefully I can post the link in a comment: — note that these tips have a very strict word count, but I did manage to fit the words “dog park” in.)

      In my experience, people tend to take their dogs to the dog park because they think it’s the right thing to do/all dogs must love the dog park/the dog needs exercise/the dog must want to socialize with other dogs/etc. I advise clients quite frequently to drop the dog park from their repertoire (if nothing else because the other dogs may be poorly socialized). I believe dog parks are right for a very small percentage of the dog population only.

      Unfortunately, for many dogs the dog park is either actively aversive (in the case of “the introverted spouse,” as you so aptly put it), or highly stressful, in the sense that it’s too much input and the dog get anxious just trying to keep up. I recommend playdates with one or two well socialized dogs instead.

      Thank you for your very insightful comment!

  2. Irith, I am doing a dog body language seminar for a local therapy dog group- for free can I use this You-tube video for dog-dog interactions. I have some, but living in Tucson and only having my video camera since June they are all at night and very hard to see. It is just so very hot here this summer in particular- and even if dogs are at the dog park when it is light- they are not playing.

    I agree about dogs parks. So very many dogs who go at the high flow times have no business being there- that is how I totally freaked out my now dog-reactive dog Lola- by taking her to the dog park when there were too many dogs. I though that because she was still running, she was having fun but she wasn’t. She was horribly overwhelmed. I also agree with play group suggestion.

    My dream is to someday have a property where I can run organized play groups developed around the needs, ages, and play styles of the dogs involved. No group would have more than 6 dogs and many would have less. All owners would have to take a play group orientation which would include video of dogs interacting appropriately and those who are not. All dogs would also have to have a decent recall and sit on cue (something they could hire me to help them teach their dog to do) and be able to accept a gentle collar grab.
    The stuff that goes on at most dog parks, especially in this city where the dog parks are the size of postage stamps is abyssmal.

    Crystal Saling, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP

    1. Crystal: You are welcome to use the video for free, although I would appreciate an attribution of some sort if that’s possible. Do you need the actual video file (which is pretty large)? If so, contact me by e-mail and we’ll figure something out.

      Your play group idea sounds wonderful. Here’s hoping you can do it soon!

  3. Thank you so much for the video. This is very helpful. Viva was displaying the looking away behaviour before, but I missed it ! She is luckily “already” in the lip licking phase now, so glad my not noticing this didn’t set her back.

    We were not able to do some structured setups last week, like we did when on vacation. But at least we took good care of where we had our dog walk and how we could “control” other dogs approaching from that area, so at least we could repeat the behavior of lip-licking.

    We want more BAT! keep it coming 🙂

    1. Thank you for the compliments!

      Considering you managed to do structured setups on vacation earlier this month, I know you will find a way to do them again. Don’t worry about missing signals, either. It can be hard to see each signal and mark it immediately, even when you have a lot of practice. Just keep at it. You will be a pro at this before you know it!

  4. Great video and music to pay attention by. Thanks for this special focus on signals dogs give when they meet up with other dogs, as at dog parks! I was really enthusiastic about dog parks in urban areas, but not for my dog – and not for many dogs as it turns out. I’ve seen my dog back away, first staring at the new dog like they were nuts, then turning to trot away. Pamela’s analogy was fabulous!

    1. Yes, Pamela’s analogy is brilliant! So many people have it firmly in their heads that all dogs love dog parks that they fail to notice how many dogs DON’T. Hopefully this will be obvious to more dog owners in the future. Good for you for reading your dog properly!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *