Why Do Dogs Wag Their Tails?


What Does Dog “Say” by Wagging Tail

It’s frequently thought that dogs wag their tails to communicate that they enjoy and friendly, but this isn’t really exactly true.

Dogs do use their tails to communicate, though a wagging tail doesn’t always indicate, “Come pet me!”

Dogs have a sort of language that’s based upon the position and motion of their tails. The position of a dog’s tail exposes its emotional state.

When a dog is unwinded, its tail will be in its “natural” position, inning accordance with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

This natural position varies in between breeds. The tails of the majority of dogs, for instance, suspend near their hocks, or heels. But pugs have tails that curl upward, and greyhounds have tails that rest a little between their legs.

If a dog is nervous or submissive, it’ll hold its tail lower than its natural position, and will tuck its tail under its body if it’s frightened. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a tail held higher than regular may suggest the dog is excited by something, while a vertical tail suggests hostility.

“It is so crucial for people to realize that a wagging tail does not equal a dog that is friendly or wants to be petted,” says E’Lise Christensen Bell, vet and board accredited veterinary behaviorist at Veterinary Behavior Consultations of NYC. “It can, but you are far better off looking at the whole dog. If there are stiffened muscles, dilated pupils, tense facial muscles, or ears pinned forward or back, these are signs that you need to withdraw.”

A tail held straight out indicates the dog is curious about something.

Tail wagging shows a dog’s enjoyment, with more vigorous wagging relating to greater enjoyment.

In 2007, scientists discovered that the way a dog wags its tail also gives hints about what it’s sensation.

Particularly, a tail wagging to the right indicates positive emotions, and a tail wagging to the left shows unfavorable feelings.

This phenomenon involves the fact that the brain’s left hemisphere manages the right side of the body, and vice versa. Research on the approach-avoidance habits of other animals has actually shown that the left hemisphere is related to positive-approach feelings, and the right hemisphere is related to negative-avoidance sensations.

Surprisingly, a 2013 study found that dogs comprehend the asymmetric tail wagging of other dogs– a right-wagging tail relaxes other dogs, while a left-wagging tail makes them stressed out.


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