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What are dogs saying when they move their tails?

  •  April 5, 2020


What dogs are

A recent study found new clues that help identify animal emotions by tail movement, setting aside the idea that by wagging their tail they are just saying they are happy or not.

Past research has shown that when they are happy, dogs wag their tail more to the right, while nervous dogs wag their tail more to the left. The new study was able to capture the variation of information in this movement in subtle differences.

The researchers at the University of Trento in Italy tested the dogs' reaction by placing them in front of a monitor displaying images of other dogs. They monitored the heartbeat and the behavior of the animals.


The scientists observed that the dogs, seeing facial expressionless dogs wagging their tails to the right, remained relaxed. However, when they came across a dog wagging its tail to the left, the dogs immediately became anxious and their heartbeat quickened.

The study found that dogs learn to identify how other dogs' tail movements may or may not be a source of concern for them, and that their reaction is linked more to this than to a possible attempt at communication between animals.

For him, the next step is to conduct a study in which dogs react to the action of real dogs rather than images of other dogs, as in the case of the Italian study and other research in which the animals were placed before robot dogs.

Why Do Dogs Wag Their Tails? (April 2020)


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