A tail held high is a sign of arousal and a fast, short wag could mean trouble. But did you know that the direction of your dog’s wag can tell you how he’s feeling?
A study completed in Turin, Italy in 2007 demonstrated that dogs feeling comfortable wag more to the right than to the left. And that a dog is less likely to approach another dog if they are wagging toward the left.
Since my current wagger has a big, sweeping tail that generously wags for just about anything, I was skeptical. But I’ve been watching Honey.
Calm moments at home show a definite slow wag to the right and back to the center. Honey wags toward the right when she sees the neighbor’s Golden Retriever. But Honey wags ever so slightly toward the left when she sees a new dog across the street.
It’s hard to see the bias during a big sweeping wag. Especially without a video camera. That’s why you’ll want to check out the video provided with NatureNews’ story on this study.
Looking at dozens of pictures of Shadow (who was reactive toward dogs on leash) I found a definite left bias in the early pictures that faded as she got to know some of the dogs.
I looked at dozens of pictures of Honey at puppy play time and found only one picture that captured her tail left of center.
Now this is hardly a scientific survey. But it’s fun to have new information to understand what our dogs are trying to tell us. I’ll be watching every dog I meet with a new eye.
Do you watch the direction of your dog’s tail? Do you see a bias to the right when they say hello? Or does your dog’s vigorous helicopter heinie make it impossible to read anything?
Welcome to the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop.