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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 12:16 AM Thread Starter
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Tail Wagging

Ever wonder why dogs wag their tails. I love watching tails. (talking literally here) . And I really think our bushy haired curly tailed Hav's are a little harder to read than a typical shorthaired dog. I think the Beagle has the best tail ,with it's usually tipped white end. And different breeds carry their tails differently. But just like any calming signal ,tail wagging serves a purpose. We can gather lots from this little appendage. And one must be aware , not all tail wagging means the dog is happy. Lots of people have been bitten by a tail waggin dog. Being different breeds carry their tails differently, it's important to be familiar with this to a degree.
THe height of the tail generally means the following. A medium height or closer to horizontal tail wag indicates an attentive calm dog. The higher the tail is wagging,ie closer to verticle, it means the dog is becoming more uneasy and possibly threatening/assertive. As the tail moves to a lower position it indicates the dog is more submissive and appeasing.
The frequency of the tail repetitions is also another barometer on how the dog is feeling. The faster the tail is wagging the higher level of excitement.

The applitude ie the distance from it's furthest left to its furthest right positions tells whether the dog is happy or uncertain. The broader the wag, the more happy the dog. The short vibrating type wags the more unpredictable the dog. The combination of a high vibrating type wag, means beware.
A recent study is really interesting and is based on the same principles as the human brain. It's studies show when dogs feel generally positive about something or someone, their tails wag more to the right side of their rear ends, and when they have negative feelings, their tail wagging is biased to the left. How cool is that? Same sort of stuff that show in human brains how certain emotions are controlled by different sides of the brain.

So watch those tails and let your dogs wag their tails. Let's not let the tail wag the dog.

Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 02:36 AM
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How about when the whole butt is wagging?!Nellie's wag is sometimes like a propeller it goes round and round!Other times her whole lower half wags.She uses her wag almost all the time,and it is easy to read most of her different wags.But Dizzie has a very subtle wag,he doesn't wear his heart on his sleeve!

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 06:40 AM
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when my labradoodle wags her tail her entire rear body wiggles and sometimes so much that it almost knocks her over. She also does the "propeller wag" which i know means super excited. this is the wag I get after coming home from vacation. The straight out "twitchy wag" is what I get from her when i see the neighbour's nasty dog in the back yard. It's her "don't mess with me wag".

I find the curly tail of my hav a lot harder to read. When she is afraid it uncurls some but otherwise is so tightly curled it's just her bum that wags and not the tail.

I love watching wagging tails. Why anyone would dock a dog's tail I'll never know!
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 08:27 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by clare View Post
How about when the whole butt is wagging?!Nellie's wag is sometimes like a propeller it goes round and round!Other times her whole lower half wags.She uses her wag almost all the time,and it is easy to read most of her different wags.But Dizzie has a very subtle wag,he doesn't wear his heart on his sleeve!
Ahhh yes ,the circle wag. Here's what Patricia McConnell says..."The more the wag spreads to the body, the happier I assume the dog to be. I call it a “Full Body Wag,” in which the tail, the hindquarters and sometimes even the chest of the dog swings back and forth. In this case, the body is relaxed, the tail is sweeping back and forth, and if the eyes are squinting too.. well, then I’m as happy as the dog is."

Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 08:30 AM Thread Starter
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when my labradoodle wags her tail her entire rear body wiggles and sometimes so much that it almost knocks her over. She also does the "propeller wag" which i know means super excited. this is the wag I get after coming home from vacation. The straight out "twitchy wag" is what I get from her when i see the neighbour's nasty dog in the back yard. It's her "don't mess with me wag".

I find the curly tail of my hav a lot harder to read. When she is afraid it uncurls some but otherwise is so tightly curled it's just her bum that wags and not the tail.

I love watching wagging tails. Why anyone would dock a dog's tail I'll never know!
yep docking defeats the purpose of the tail. in more than one way. The Brits have banned it, and good for them.

Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
Member of IAABC ,International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants , Member of Pet Professional Guild
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 08:53 AM Thread Starter
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I forgot to mention. When trying to interpret a tail wag, especially in dogs without a prominent tail , ie Havs and a number of toy dogs, it's equally important to look at the rest of the body language as well. In most cases one element will back up the tail . Example , quite often the uncertain/assertive and potentially aggressive high held ,vibrating type wag is generally always accompanied by a rigid body language , mouth closed.
HAPPY TAILS TO YOU... UNTIL WE MEEEET AGAIN. ....

Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 09:06 AM
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DH just calls a mad ass as apposed to bad ass,when the whole tail is going mental!!

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 09:12 AM
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probably obvious to most, but the same doens't hold true for cats.

I remember as a young kid, cornering one of the feral barn cats at my grandparents farm. It's tail was waving wildly so i thought "his tail is wagging, he must be happy" so i tried to pick him up. You can just imagine how that ended. Just one of many reasons I'm a dog person and not a cat person!
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 09:24 AM Thread Starter
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probably obvious to most, but the same doens't hold true for cats.

I remember as a young kid, cornering one of the feral barn cats at my grandparents farm. It's tail was waving wildly so i thought "his tail is wagging, he must be happy" so i tried to pick him up. You can just imagine how that ended. Just one of many reasons I'm a dog person and not a cat person!
yep, they are different for sure. I miss my cats though. Tom Tina and Tara.

Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-08-2012, 10:57 AM
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I'm glad to hear the Brits have banned tail docking. Have they banned ear cropping as well? I wish the AKC would ban them. I know they say they don't "require" it, but they should ban it. Shame on them.
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