The messages in the dog's tails waggering

Reply Sat 24 Mar, 2007 02:17 am
source: The Daily Telegraph, 24.03.07, pages 1 & 13
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 856 • Replies: 7
No top replies

Walter Hinteler
Reply Sat 24 Mar, 2007 02:17 am
Dogs' behaviour - it's all in the wag

By Roger Highfield, Science Editor

Dogs wag their tails to the right when they see something familiar, such as their owner, and to the left when confronted with something they want to run away from, it was revealed yesterday. The bias is subtle, requiring video analysis to spot, and not obvious enough for you to tell whether the next dog you meet is going to lick your face or turn tail.

But, researchers suggest, the study of wagging could be used in animal welfare to help vets to gauge an animal's state of mind.

Prof Giorgio Vallortigara of the University of Trieste, Prof Angelo Quaranta and Dr Marcello Siniscalchi of Bari University, tested 30 male and female pet dogs of varying breeds recruited from an obedience school. They filmed each dog's response to being shown either their owner, a human stranger, a cat, or a Belgian shepherd malinois, a large breed similar to a German shepherd.

Shown a human, tails wagged consistently to the right. They carefully studied the tail wagging angle and ignored twitches of less than three degrees overall, "which were plausibly not correlated to wagging".

They found that the unfamiliar person elicited less wagging than the owner, and the cat the least wagging of all, though still slightly to the right - probably because the dog was so keen to give chase that it was distracted.

Shown a large, unfamiliar and intimidating dog, the dogs wagged their tails more to the left.

Dogs also wagged to the left when on their own without anyone to look at, suggesting that they like company, according to the study in the journal Current Biology. The finding provides another example of how the right and left halves of the brain do different jobs in controlling emotions. Studies have shown that, in humans, strong activity in the left hemisphere (which controls the right side of the body) is associated generally with a sunny disposition. Human studies have also linked left-brain activity with approach behaviour, and right-brain activity with retreat.

Dogs are already known to prefer to use one paw over the other - most male dogs are left-pawed, whereas females show a lesser tendency to right-pawedness.

But what they do with their tails may be a better guide to how their brains work, Prof Vallortigara said. "Tail wagging is an important emotional response," he added. Biases for right- or left-handed behaviours have been seen in amphibians, reptiles, birds, fish and mammals, suggesting that brain asymmetry is ancient, he said.

A spokesman for the Kennel Club said it was well known that dogs wag their tails when they are happy.

From now on, she added, she would take more interest in the direction of the wag.
0 Replies
Reply Sat 24 Mar, 2007 06:13 am
I almost always wag my tail to the right.
0 Replies
Reply Sat 24 Mar, 2007 09:07 am
I wag my tail up and down.

What is wrong with me?

BBB Crying or Very sad
0 Replies
Reply Sat 24 Mar, 2007 11:53 am
hard to tell with some corgis -

0 Replies
Reply Sat 24 Mar, 2007 08:30 pm
When the dog wags his tail, it means he has a good hand.
0 Replies
Reply Tue 27 Mar, 2007 03:37 pm
Untrue, actually it is a little known fact that dogs invented Morse Code. All one needs to do is listen to a dog's tail thumping upon an object and it is apparent!

That Morse guy just never gave his dogs "Dash" and "Dot" any credit for it.
0 Replies
Walter Hinteler
Reply Tue 27 Mar, 2007 03:43 pm
0 Replies

Related Topics

Feline Leukemia - Contagiousness - Question by CDobyns
A big hound dog killed BBB's little Dolly dog today - Discussion by BumbleBeeBoogie
Tigers and Pigs... - Discussion by gungasnake
Fertilizer - Discussion by cjhsa
The Imaginary Garden - Discussion by dlowan
Informed Consent? - Discussion by roger
Me a cat hater? - Discussion by Craven de Kere
Dressing dogs - Question by TooFriendly112
My pussy getting weaker.. - Question by pearl123
Choosing good dog food? - Discussion by roycovin
  1. Forums
  2. » The messages in the dog's tails waggering
Copyright © 2022 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 10/06/2022 at 07:58:25