Many people ask each day "why do dogs move their tails?" It is popular custom to say that if a dog moves its tail it is because it is happy, but it is not always the case. If you have a furry little friend, You may have noticed that it also moves its tail when it is barking or growling. Why does the dog move its tail then, if it is not happy? In this case, It is one more way to show your anger, it is a warning to whatever threatens you.
The behavior of animals is what differentiates them most from humans (although we are also animals!) And it is a very interesting and fun matter for many. Usually, It is considered that why dogs move their tail is the expression of their emotions, which can be very varied: joy, emotion, anger, annoyance ... Dogs, By not sharing language with us, they need to use their body to communicate. In fact, not only do dogs move their tails, they also use their entire bodies, their eyes, their ears and even their snouts to try to "talk" with us and other animals.
When they feed on their mother
Since very young we can observe this gesture in the puppies. Why do puppy dogs move their tails? When their mother feeds them, when they start eating the milk, the puppies move their tails without stopping. It is interpreted to be because they feel comfortable, happy and happy to be with mom and because the milk is very tasty! They feel united to their mother and happy to be well fed.
However, this happens. from 6 - 7 weeks of age. Why don't newborn dogs move their tails? As soon as they are born, the puppies are more focused on warm each other, curled up, after a few weeks is whenthey start to change their attitude: they begin to socialize, to reunite with their brothers, even to “fight” for breastfeeding! The tail movement of dogs comes with the need to communicate, it is a pure social component.
When they are angry
Yes! As we said, Dogs can also move their tails even if they are far from feeling happy. Why do dogs move their tails when they get angry? In this case, The movement of the dog's tail is usually accompanied by dilated pupils, muscular tension, movement in the ears and also barking.
In moments of anger, the dog moves its tail to transmit that strong discontent, its anger or agitation. If you see a dog in these circumstances, it is best not to disturb him!
To maintain balance
We have already seen that The expression of emotions is the main reason why dogs move their tails. But this is not there, the tail also serves to maintain balance when for example they walk in very closed circles or when swimming, when the movement of the tail serves as a rudder.
Too when traveling somewhat irregular roads where the dog feels insecure, or when jumping, the dog uses the movement of its tail not to get unbalanced.
As a means of communication
As we have already commented above, One of the main reasons why dogs move their tails is because they do not share "language" with other species. When moving the tail they communicate with people and other animals, expressing their emotions. Various studies show that dogs do not move their tails when they are alone, since there is no need.
To release the aromas of the anal glands
Also dogs They move their tails to spread the odors that their anal glands give off. For what purpose? Basically, reproduce. Like us, each dog has a unique smell and is its hallmark, in addition to its form of belonging or territory. They can do it through urine or anus.
These smells, in addition, they form a kind of "canine map" that they use to identify which dog has been in what place, or who is nearby, in addition to serving them for guidance.
What does each tail movement mean in dogs?
(Photo via: clubperruno)
- Tail dropped and / or hidden between the legs: It suggests fear, insecurity or submission, although it may also be simply that the dog is calm. Many dogs, when they are relaxed at home, go low-tailed, and it does not mean that they are afraid of anything, there are simply no stimuli that make it rise or move.
- Slight movement and raised ears: alertness to a stimulus, but insecurity about whether it is friendly or not. The dog moves the dubious tail, waiting and watching, prepared to react to a possible aggression. If in this state the dog notices a sudden movement it is likely to respond violently.
- Fast movement but short distance, with exposed teeth and ears back: The dog is prepared to attack, convinced that the stimulus received poses a threat.
- Rigid and still tail, with bristly hair: It doesn't have to be a sign of attack, but neither does it predict anything good. The dog is not in a position to react violently, but will not leave the territory and distrusts whoever is in front of it, it should not be provoked. The best thing in this case is to move slowly away.
Having seen this list of reasons why dogs move their tails, we will say that science has certainly found a close relationship between the mood of dogs and the activity of their tails.
Sometimes, it's likely that our dogs, deep down, have some fear in us. This is normal, finally and after all we are bigger and our attitude is also dominantIt is understandable that they can distrust us even if our intentions are good.
Even today, know why Dogs move the tail is sometimes very complicated, since they can be motivated by very varied reasons
To investigate how dogs react to the cocked tail movements of their peers, they watched them while watching videos of other dogs.
The scientists measured the heart rate of the animals and analyzed their behavior.
"We show you dog movies, naturalistic versions or just a silhouette to eliminate any confusion, and we alter the movement of the tail to present it more to the right or more to the left," Vallortigara explains.
When the animals saw that a dog moved its tail to the right (from the point of view of the tail owner), they remained relaxed.
But when they distinguished a tail that turned predominantly to the left, they showed anxiety and increased their heart rate.
Vallortigara says he doesn't believe dogs were communicating intentionally with each other through these movements.
Instead, the researcher believes that dogs have learned from experience which movements they should worry about.
"If they have had several encounters with other dogs, and often a tail movement to one side is associated with friendly behavior and the other side produces a less friendly attitude, they respond based on that experience."
Those responsible for this study believe that their results can offer pet owners, veterinarians and trainers a better understanding of their dogs' emotions.
Regarding its dissemination, the BBC consulted John Bradshaw, an expert in canine behavior at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, who says that this is not the first work that examines whether left and right are important for dogs.
Last year, a team at Lincoln University observed that dogs turn their heads to the left before an aggressive animal and to the right when it comes to a happy one.
But other research from the University of Victoria, in Canada, showed that "dogs were more likely to approach a robotic specimen when their tail turned more to the left than to the right, instead of showing anxiety, the other way around than in the Italian Study".
According to Bradshaw, these differences may be due to the fact that the dogs used in the different studies do not recognize the animals in the movies or the robots as their peers. It would help to see how they respond to real dogs, says the expert.
"There is considerable evidence from many mammals that the two sides of the brain are used for different purposes, but details have not yet been achieved, and dogs are no exception," he says.
"However, since their behavior can be easily registered, it will probably not take long to understand why the tails sometimes move to one side and sometimes to the other."
The dog's tail, the most expressive part of its body
Together with the ears, the dog use the tail toexpress all your emotions, feelings and moods, so understanding each of their movements can help us interpret what our furry partner tries to tell us. Likewise, some of the movements he makes with his tail are directly related to the socialization process, so amputating it will not only represent a cruel act towards the animal, but will also prevent him from relating to other dogs, pets and people correctly.
On the other hand, the animal's tail is nothing other than continuation of the spine. In this way, the dog's tail is formed by caudal or coccygeal vertebrae, being able to have 20 to 23. Regardless of the shape of the dog's tail (straight, curved or curled), being the end of the spine It helps maintain balance, so you should never cut a dog's tail.
They move their queues to express congratulations>
When our can shake the tail from side to side vigorously and, in addition, he makes small leaps, barks or tries to pounce on us, he is telling us that he is happy, cheerful and excited. We see this attitude, especially when we return home after a few hours, when we prepare to take the dog for a walk or when we are going to offer him food.
When they want to play
When the dogs move the tail in circles and, in addition, they jump or move their front legs from one side to another indicate that they want to play with us. If it's the right time, don't hesitate and start your favorite game.
You can get toys for dogs, teach him to go get the ball or run together in an open space. Remember that spending a period of time a day to play with your furry partner is essential both to keep it active and to strengthen your bond.
Being alert or undecided
If your dog keep the tail up, totally upright, and straight ears up, is that you probably have a self-confident dog. This tense position expresses that your dog is tense and alert to what may happen, especially when it relates to other dogs.
Move the tail to communicate with other dogs
On both sides of the anus, dogs have calls anal glands. In them, a lubricating substance is generated that they use to defecate without difficulties. However, this is not the only function they have, since the anal glands provide each dog with a unique aroma. When you shake the tail, what you can do is release the aroma, identify yourself and get the attention of the dogs around you. Have you ever wondered why dogs smell each other? Here is the answer!
In addition to allowing dogs to communicate with each other, dogs move their tails to give off its particular aroma for reproductive purposes. In this way, when females are in heat it is not surprising that they chase the males with the tail completely upright and making effusive movements from one side to the other. If you want to avoid a possible pregnancy, keep in mind that canine sterilization is the best solution.
When you feel calm and relaxed
When a dog is calm, relaxed and at ease, it tends to leave its tail low but far from the legs. It is possible to add the odd movement from one side to the other, but never quickly or effusively. In this way, we see how when dogs keep their tail low they do not necessarily indicate fear or represent a response to a negative stimulus. If you want to know the quietest dog breeds, don't miss this article!
Is sad or afraid
If the dog shows tail between legs and ears back, yes it is telling us that you feel fear, are sad or scared. Especially when this last state occurs, the dog also presents the bristly hair and trembles. For these cases, it will be essential to pay attention to the possible causes that may be generating sadness or fear in our partner. For more information, see our article in which we explain what to do if your dog is sad.
If you want to read more articles similar to Why do dogs move their tails?, we recommend that you enter our Curiosities section of the animal world.
What are the reasons why dogs move their tails?
1. When they feed on the mother
The first time we can appreciate these tail movements is when the mother feeds her puppies. When he begins to drink the milk of the dog around his belly, the tails of the puppies begin to move intensely. This is interpreted as a sign of good taste for feeding on the offspring, but, and then, why does the tail movement not show up before, for example, at two weeks of age? Obviously, the milk had the same taste, was equally important and the tails were equally developed. The answer is in the conflict between the puppies, when they are two weeks old, the puppies snuggle together to warm up and feel more comfortable. However, when they are about six or seven weeks old, it is just that moment in which the wagging of the tail is reaching its maximum manifestation, already when the puppies have entered the social stage of fighting and gathering.
2. When they are angry
If, apart from moving its tail, the dog usually has dilated pupils, the muscles are stiff, they produce movements in its ears forward or backward and its face is observed with a certain muscular tension, it is best that you move away. The tail of the dog also serves to convey strong emotions and not only happiness, but also communicate when they are angry, agitated or feel anger and in fact, learning to decipher the movement of a dog's tail can be a challenge.
3.To keep your balance
In addition to transmitting certain emotions, the dog's tail also serves to keep your balanceThis happens when you make tight turns or while swimming and the tail simply prevents it from tipping over. Also, when walking along narrow roads, or while jumping or climbing a space, the tail also balances it.
4. To communicate with people and other animals
Dogs generally wag their tail for other dogs, people and perhaps other animals (such as cats when accompanied). Some research on this confirms that canines do not move their tail when they are alone, since there is no need. Like human beings who use laughter and body expressions when they are in different social situations, our dear dog friends also do the same.
5. To release aromas from the anus glands
There are several researchers who indicate that these movements help the dog to spread aromas released by the glands in the anus of the same. These aromas have reproductive purposes since each canine has an odor that is unique to him or her and is a source of signaling as a form of belonging or that somehow "marks the territory", just as they do with urine. A dominant dog or "alpha" dog that carries its tail high will release more of its smell compared to a dog that carries its tail down.
These aromas also form as a kind of map, since it is accompanied by the complete and developed sense of smell of the dog, it serves to orient itself.
6. When they are in the process of mating
In addition to everything explained, dogs also communicate by wagging their tail when they intend to mating and the attack of joy, differs from the others less since they exert some variation in the speed of the wiggle, or in the posture of its ears and the snout.
What does the different tail movements in dogs mean?
- When the dog meets the horizontal tail to the ground and hides>“More happy than dog with two tails”, says the saying, since science has found a closer relationship between the mood of dogs and the movements of their tails.
We have come to the conclusion that our dogs, deep down, may have some fear. But you have to put yourself in their place and understand them a bit, since our body is bigger than theirs, some dogs simply worry when we bend down and go towards them, if only to caress them. In addition, to this we should add that under normal conditions (obviously if we have properly educated our dog), we are completely dominant and they are aware that their life depends on us at all, there is fear or respect.
Finally, the movement of the dogs' tail is something that is still a bit complicated to understand since it is usually always variable. At least you already know that the next time you see a dog move its tail you should have as many things in mind.
I adore the canines and being much more than just pets, I share my home with two bitches. They always have very particular behaviors, they make holes in the patio, they run like crazy, they bark at everything that goes by there, howl and of course, they move their tail. When the day is over and I get home, they welcome me with small jumps while they shake and they move their tail from side to side, as if they were very happy to see me again.
But this is not something that happens only to me, if you have a dog, surely you have also seen it. All dogs have a tail, it is a part of their body and although some have tails (or tails) large or very small and others are cut, all dogs move their tail.
It is often said that they do this to show love and affection or to make us understand that they are happy or that they want to have fun and play. However, many times, the tail movement is accompanied by a growl or a warning bark. So dogs: why do they move their tails?
Why does a dog move its tail?
Experts point out that it is very important to learn to differentiate a dog that feels good and comfortable, with one that is simply moving its tail, because there is no equivalence here. Consequently, a dog may be moving its tail even if it is not exactly happy.
If in addition to move the tail, the dog has dilated pupils, the muscles are stiff, he moves his ears forward or backward and his face has some muscular tension, it is best to back off. The dog's tail serves to communicate strong emotions and not necessarily happiness but also anger, agitation or anger and actually learn to read the movement of a dog's tail It can be a science.
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Dogs are the result of a long evolutionary process, which has roots no less than in gray wolves. Formerly, the purpose of the dogs' tail was to give them balance whether walking, running or swimming, being very special in hunting and therefore, in its survival. In this way, the movement of the tail was practically recorded in the nature and heritage of the dogs.
On the other hand, there are those who point out that these movements help the dog release aromasdetached by the glands in the anus of it. These aromas have reproductive purposes and are a kind of signaling that determines belongings or that somehow "mark the territory", similar to how they do it with urine.
These essences also form a kind of map that, accompanied by the complex and developed sense of canine smell, serves to orient. After all, the movement of the dogs' tail is something that is still quite difficult to understand since it is always variable. At least you already know that the next time you see a dog move its tail you should have as many things in mind.
Very interesting don't you think so? Do you like dogs? Why do you think they move the tail?