Right, left makes a difference in tail wag

Mar 25, 2007

Italian researchers say that dogs' tail wagging sends a different message depending on the direction of the wag.

By examining dogs' interactions with people and other animals, the scientists found that a dog wags its tail to the right when it spots someone or something familiar and to the left when it feels threatened, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Giorgio Vallortigara of the University of Trieste and Angelo Quaranta and Marcello Siniscalchi of Bari University studied dogs with their owners, human strangers, cats and Belgian shepherd malinois, a large German shepherd-like dog that smaller dogs might find threatening.

The study suggests that in dogs, as in humans, the left side of the brain is involved in signaling to approach something while the right side advises retreat.

"Tail wagging is an important emotional response," Vallortigara said.

The study has been published in Current Biology.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Researchers discover new mechanism of DNA repair

Related Stories

Animals enliven human language

Apr 13, 2015

When Debra Hawhee reads Mother Goose and Aesop's Fables to her 5-year-old daughter, she hears in them the usual social lessons—and an additional layer of meaning besides.

A new look at the sun's magnetic field

Mar 27, 2015

Sunspots, bursts of radiation and violent eruptions are signs that our sun is permanently active. Researchers have long known that this activity varies in a cycle of around eleven years' duration. Even if ...

Coyotes filling wolves' niche in southeastern US

Mar 26, 2015

It's believed that wolves once roamed the southeastern United States before they were eliminated by overhunting and habitat loss. Now the region has a new top dog, the coyote, which may fill the role once ...

Recommended for you

Fishing catch research pinpoints best assessment method

21 minutes ago

Edith Cowan University researchers are working on tools to improve future fishing management and conservation by developing effective geostatistical methods with which to model the spatial distributions of ...

A triangular protein pump

44 minutes ago

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich researchers have elucidated the structure of a molecular machine with an atypical triangular shape that is involved in peroxisome biogenesis, and characterized its conformation ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.