Why do dogs wag their tails?

Focus-Science and Technology - - Q & A -

JOE GOOD­MAN, VIA EMAIL

Dogs ‘talk’ with their tails. The po­si­tion of the tail can tell us a lot about how a dog is feel­ing; hung low sug­gests fear and sub­mis­sion, whereas held high is a sign of dom­i­nance and arousal. A wag­ging tail of­ten con­veys hap­pi­ness and ex­cite­ment but neu­ro­sci­en­tists at the Uni­ver­sity of Trento in Italy have found that the speed and direc­tion of wag is im­por­tant in as­cer­tain­ing if the dog is ei­ther neg­a­tively (slow and to the left) or pos­i­tively (fast and to the right) stim­u­lated. CC

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