Thursday, September 8, 2011

Telling Tails

Since dogs rarely wag their tails when they are alone, they must be using this gesture to communicate to others. For example, when a dog’s tail wags as it is given food, it is expressing pleasure to its owner. When dogs eat and play alone, they rarely wag their tails because there is no one to see them.

When a dog wags its tail, surrounding muscles press on scent glands, releasing pheromones that signal the pooch’s age, sex, and social status. Submissive dogs may not wag their tails when frightened because they do not want to draw attention to themselves.

A high, quickly wagging tail is often a sign of playfulness and intense joy, but can also signal an aggressive dog. A horizontal, steadily moving tail suggests that your dog is closely studying something. If a dog tucks its tail between its legs, it is afraid, and attempting to communicate that it is submissive and does not pose a threat.

And, since we have all been talking about dogs marking their 'spots' here's a bit of information in that:

Leg Lifts

Have you ever noticed that male dogs prefer to pee on a standing object, like a fire hydrant or tree? They are placing their scents at nose level, so other dogs can smell it, and the wind can spread it, more easily than if the scent were on the ground.

To place their scent at nose-level, small dogs must lift their legs quite high to send their pee to the right spot. Large dogs don’t have to try so hard, and rarely lift their legs as high as their smaller cousins.

Alice England


Art and Sew Forth said...

Interesting. I knew some of those things, but not all. I can't believe a tail wag can tell age, sex, social status. Can you imagine if a person's wave was like that! "That's a 33 yo middle class female" LOL!

Three Wishes Collective said...

such great information! thank you so much. I've also heard that tail wags indicate they're unsure of what's going to happen next and supposedly if its more concentrated to the left or the right means different things. I think dogs are so amazing and their knowledge is so immense compared to what we give them credit for. I talk to Velvet like she can understand every word, because, for all I know, she can :)

Three Wishes Collective said...

lol, Patty :)

Giupetto and Gianna Tails said...

Very very interesting. Will hve to pay more attention to my dogs and what they are trying to tell me.

Tisha said...

One of my dogs had an anal gland that stayed inflamed and drained (yes, it was very yucky), so the vet lanced them. She did both of his glands and they no longer producing glands (yeah for me). I can only imagine what other dogs think when they take the sniff of introduction. Maybe a lightbulb or a little tilt of the head with that "huh?"