Scientists have found that the way a dog wags its tail is linked to its mood.
Earlier research showed that happy dogs wag their tails more to the right (from the dog’s point of view), while nervous dogs have a left-dominated swish.
But now scientists say that dogs can spot and respond to these subtle tail differences. Effectively, dogs can communicate with each other.
To find out more about how dogs react to the lop-sided tail wags of other dogs, the researchers monitored the animals as they watched films of other dogs.
When the animals saw an otherwise expressionless dog move its tail to the right (from the tail-wagging dog’s point of view), they stayed perfectly relaxed.
But when they spotted a tail veer predominantly to the left (again from the tail-swishing dog’s point of view), their heart rates picked up and they looked anxious.
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