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: Honey bees sting Texas man about 1,000 times

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Bird watching in the 21st century

Jul 18, 2014

Was that a catbird or a mockingbird you just saw? The answer is now just a smartphone tap away. Birdsnap—a new app developed with the help of a University of Maryland computer scientist—can identify birds ...

Why dogs are the new darlings of cognitive science

May 23, 2014

This will be his earliest memory. Red light, morning light. High ceiling canted overhead. Lazy click of toenails on wood. Between the honey-colored slats of the crib a whiskery muzzle slides forward until it ...

Extinct kitten-sized hunter discovered

May 08, 2014

A Case Western Reserve University student and his mentor have discovered an ancient kitten-sized predator that lived in Bolivia about 13 million years ago—one of the smallest species reported in the extinct ...

Recommended for you

Rising temperatures can be hard on dogs

5 hours ago

The "dog days of summer" are here, but don't let the phrase fool you. This hot time of year can be dangerous for your pup, says a Kansas State University veterinarian.

Monkeys fear big cats less, eat more, with humans around

8 hours ago

Some Monkeys in South Africa have been found to regard field scientists as human shields against predators and why not if the alternative is death by leopard? The researchers found the monkeys felt far safer ...

User comments : 0