A dog’s tail
can tell you a lot more than you might think.
Is it wagging to the
Or is it wagging to
of tail wagging does in fact matter,” said Giorgio
Vallortigara, a neuroscience professor at the University of Trento in
Italy, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Professor Vallortigara, the way the tail is wagging can tell you a
lot about a dog’s state of mind – whether you’re a
human or another dog.
just fascinating that dogs pick up on it (as well),” said Evan
McLean, the co-director of Duke University’s Canine Cognition
Center in Durham, North Carolina.
means the act or process of knowing something.)
difference between a left wag and a right wag?
Vallortigara and his colleagues reportedly studied 43 dogs of various
breeds – German shepherds, Rottweilers, beagles, boxers, border
collies and some mutts, according to the Associated Press.
According to the
researchers, if a dog wags its tail to the left, it’s feeling
anxious or nervous.
The reason could be
an unfamiliar or dangerous situation, an unfamiliar person — or
an unfamiliar and possibly threatening dog.
But if the tail is
wagging to the right, it means the dog is feeling relaxed and
approachable, according to the experts.
“The tail is a
very important signal,” said Thomas Reimchen, an evolutionary
biologist at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada,
in an interview with National Geographic News. “There is
a lot of visual information that dogs use when interacting with each
How did the
scientists figure all this stuff out?
They had the dogs in
their study watch videotapes of other dogs.
When the dog on the
tape wagged its tail to the right, they say the other dogs remained
calm and cool.
But when the dog on
the tape wagged its tail to the left, the other dogs got anxious.
amazing, I think,” Professor Vallortigara said, according to
The researchers are
still not exactly sure if the direction of the tail wag is something
the dog does consciously.
They suspect that it
might be something the dog does without even thinking about it –
kind of like when you get goose bumps if something scares or startles
They reportedly plan
to do more research, to get more insight into what dogs are thinking
and feeling while they’re wagging.
As Reimchen told
National Geographic, “I’m not going to be surprised if we
find all sorts of really interesting processes that nobody has ever