Beware the dog who wags to the left

Stressed dogs wag to the left
Stressed dogs wag to the left

In an interesting study out of Italy, pups4sale has learned there is a meaning behind a dog wagging his tail more to the left than the right. Who would have thought?

Researchers from the University of Trento found dogs who are stressed/threatened/frightened. etc wag their tails more predominantly to the left than the right. At the DailyDog we presumed from a common sense perspective that such dogs wouldn’t wag at all, but put their tails between their legs. Nevertheless such were the findings from the scientists involved.

The researchers found dogs wag predominantly to the right when they are happy/relaxed, etc. Continuing on the common sense theme, our observations led us to the conclusion of “how would you know?” After all, when a dog is wagging his tail, it is generally going from side to side in most cases. Clearly there must be some very careful observation involved in order to determine the difference.

Apparently it is all to do with the right brain vs left brain stuff we have heard about over the years with respect to humans; it also applies to dogs. That is the right side of the brain is associated with fear or stress and thus when “activated” causes the tail to wag more to the left. When the left side of the brain (associated with positive feelings) is activated, the tail wags more to the right.

The cynical side of us wonders how much this study cost and what is the point behind it? Being unable to find out from the scientists involved, we devised our own scientifically cunning plan involving the use of frozen bones :). Our study produced an entirely new and perhaps surprising finding (to the scientists mentioned in this story at any rate). The opening of the freezer and the subsequent emergence of frozen bones from said freezer produced a whole of brain response in our subject canines (“Ben” and “Kim”) we have termed “furious wagging”. Their tails were too much of a blur to know whether they were favouring the left or right side of their bodies, but our educated guess is they were “stressed and frightened” at the thought one might get a bigger bone than the other, yet equally “happy and relaxed” knowing their daily frozen bone appointment was about to be kept. Cost of study: $1 at the local IGA. Perhaps we should send our results to Italy 😉

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