Tuesday, 2 February 2010

tail wagging in dogs

As Penny has become older she has become less interested in running around with other dogs. She seems to prefer people. Now that I've read an article saying it's possible to work out dogs' friendliness by observing which side they wag their tail on, I'm intending to watch her carefully next time we meet a strange dog. I'll have a look at the other dog's tail-wagging, also, to see whether I can work out which side they prefer.

For those with a scientific bent, there's a fun site at ScienceBuddies that explains how to conduct your own experiment into tail-wagging.

At the Pets site there's an extract from Dr Stanley Coren's book How To Speak Dog, explaining when and why puppies start to wag their tails and how dogs use tails as communication devices, and also for balance.

I've often seen Penny use her tail as a rudder when she's changing direction in the water. I've also noticed she holds her tail low when she's concentrating or focusing on an object of interest. (Like those pesky rats in our back yard that she hasn't managed to catch yet.)


Unknown said...

A post all about Penny's tail. Cool. Thank you for all the information, I'm a science buff BOL Penny's lucky to be loved so much that she's got somebody dedicated to tail-watch. Way to train them Penny!

parlance said...

Twink, the experiment involves a bit of note-taking, but I'm sure you'll manage that. Let us know what you find out about those other dogs, and stay away from the scary ones!

Gussie said...

How interesting. Jake is definitely more aloof with other dogs now he's in his prime. I'll read the article & keep watching the tails!

i said...

I always look at Happy's tail for indication to her moods and behaviour LOL. Not that I'm an expert on tail reading but I suppose at times we're able to read them better from their tails.

Oh it wasn't my comment you've accidentally deleted (I think). My memory sure is like a sieve nowadays, everything just sieves right through LOL. But if it was my comment, don't worry about it.

How's Penny's hair coming along? Can see it's shiny and lovelier now. Do you know about this brand of shampoo and conditioner called Mane & Tail? It's supposed to be shampoo formulated for horses but a lot of showdog owners use it for their dogs too.

I've tried it once on Happy and can see the extra shine and improvement. But it's not sold here so I may try to get it when I'm overseas.

Unknown said...

Yeah, I think the biggest myth a lot of lay "pet people" believe is that a wagging tail is always a sign the dog is friendly and happy...NOT! :-) If it's a high, stiff, fast wag, better watch out!

Actually, with Honey, it's fairly easy as she tends not to wag her tail if she is just excited/aroused (but not friendly) - she holds it quite stiffly - so if she IS wagging, it's usually a good sign! (And usually a slow, low wag...)


parlance said...

Gussie, I was at a gathering of dogs the other evening and I tried to assess the direction of wagging. Too hard for me to work out, I have to say.

parlance said...

Serendipity, I'll have a look at a local horse shop. I've already got a new cream called sea ointment, or something like that, from the horse people. It says it's good for general rashes, etc, on dogs.

parlance said...

Hsin-Yi, I've noticed Honey's tail wagging in some of your video clips.