Dogs are my favorite animal. I have wondered why dogs wag their tails. Is there meaning behind left wagging or right wagging?
Not all wags are equal and some wags are a lot more welcoming than others. Scientists have noticed dogs wag their tails more to the right when they see their owner or something else happy. They wag more to the left when they see something like a dominant or unfamiliar dog. The wag itself represents the emotional state of the dog doing the wagging. When dogs wag their tails to the right or do not wag at all, they show more relaxed behaviors and appear less stressed.
Wagging tails increase a dog’s heart rate and anxiety levels. This happens when they see another dog wagging their tail to the left, new research has found. Researchers don’t think that dogs are intentionally communicating with their tails in the way that some humans communicate with language.
Researchers don’t think that dogs are intentionally communicating with their tails in the way that humans communicate visually with sign language. Instead, they believe it’s more of a byproduct tied to the inner part of the dog’s brain. Nevertheless, the information is useful to dogs – and to humans – with the researchers calling on veterinarians to take note.
Most of us see a wagging dog’s tail and think it’s got to be a good sign. Wagging = welcome, right? Especially if it’s the kind of wag that’s knocking over small items. But it turns out that not all wags are equal, and some are a lot more welcoming than others. When shown a right wag or no wag, the viewing dogs showed more relaxed behaviors and appeared less stressed. But when shown a left wag, the viewing dogs showed higher levels of stress, with tails tucked down, legs braced, whining, all the way up to running away.
The dogs that were shown the wag, are called the wagee. While the wagees were all different breeds, the stimulus dog was only a single dog. The way the dog wags it’s tail could be important for both how we approach and how we work with dogs when trying to do things like socialize them with other dogs. Is that tail going to the right or left? If left, you could be in for a less friendly reception than you anticipated.
Do you know how to tell the difference if a dog is wagging its tail left or right?
Can the dogs seeing the wagging tell the difference?
Can a dog FAKE a wag, to, say, look less or more dominant?