Posted on Thursday, November 28th, 2013

New study explains differences in a dog’s tail wagging


When most of us see our dog’s tail wagging, we interpret it as a sign of our pet’s well-being and happiness. However, a new study carried out by Italian scientists shows that the direction in which a tail wags reflects whether a dog is feeling friendly or combative. The research underscores the importance of paying attention to your dog’s body language, as subtle differences can indicate changes in behavior that will help you address your pet’s needs.

Left vs. right

Think a dog always wags his tail the same way? Think again. Researchers fitted over 40 dogs with heart monitor vests and found that when the majority sees another canine wagging his tail to the left, a dog’s heart rate increases and it becomes more anxious. If the other canine’s tail is wagging to the right, the dogs interpret it as a friendly sign and remain relaxed. This phenomenon led scientists to postulate that dogs observe their companions’ body language to determine whether or not to approach them, just as humans do. Pet owners wishing to observe this firsthand can simply watch their canines interacting with others while in parks.

Wagging and vets

While the study acknowledges that the average person may find it difficult to determine which way its dog’s tail is wagging, the findings could potentially benefit veterinarians and animal care experts treating canines. If such groups become acquainted with this information regarding dog behavior, they may be able to better care for the pets without frightening them.

Keep your dog happy

Anxiety is not just bad for humans – it’s bad for dogs, too. If you want your pet’s tail to continue wagging to the right, try Hartz’s line of exciting toys and treats. The Hartz® Dura Play® Ball is a great option to keep your dog busy for hours, plus it is long-lasting and sure to survive even the most vigorous handling. To reward your dog after a good deed or a fun day of play, go for a yummy Hartz® Hearty Snack Bars™ Chew & Treat Combo.

This content is provided by the pet experts at Hartz. Before you invest in a new chew toy, biscuit or treat for your companion, turn to us for top-of-the-line advice and tips.