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Old 12-02-2012, 12:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Tail Wagging Bias

A few people in my club jokingly refer to Medo's tail as the "angry tail" ....kind of an inside joke...but basically because when he works his tail is always up and wagging like mad.

Recently, one of the people who does this (and also owns a doggie day care so she's quite into animal body language) told me that I really needed to look up the "tail wagging bias." I found it so fascinating!
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/...cientific-data

The only real example I have of this readily available is our BH video...but it's funny because his tail is up and wagging to the right. Obviously he's not telling me to "back off or suffer the consequences...for him that is his normal "in drive" tail setting.

But as you can see in protection it goes even higher (sorry, SUPER short, but only semi-short video I have of him)

As you can see, that tail setting is even higher than during our BH (too short to me, though, to tell if it's a right or left side wag).

Anyhow, I'm sure some of you probably already know about this. I was familiar with some of it, but I definitely not all.

Please post other examples--good or bad!

(grrr...I can't get that second video to embed...if any mods can help?!?)
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Last edited by GSDElsa; 12-02-2012 at 12:23 PM.
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Old 12-02-2012, 01:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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wow just wanted to say hes turning out really nice.
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Old 12-02-2012, 01:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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May be a little hard to tell since she is up against the wall in this video. This is a friend's dog that we were assessing for rehoming. She's fearful, especially of men, and was barking at my partner to keep him away. Her tail shows short wags/flicks to the left. It is something we note as part of the assessment. You can also see the short wags to the right when she looks at her owner.

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Old 12-02-2012, 02:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Justine, I'm not qualified to answer your question, but I am moved to post that it was a true joy to watch Medo work in your video. He seems to really be enjoying what he is doing. There is no doubt that there is a partnership going on between you and Medo.

It made me smile watching it and think, "I want that."
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Old 12-02-2012, 03:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Tail vertical position is proportional to dominant behavior, and general excitement.. the higher the tail, the higher the energy. obviously fully tucked down between the legs is submission/fear

Tail left-right bias has been scientifically shown to be linked to caution/interaction with a stranger when favoring one side, and interaction with a person/dog they have a bond with on the other side... don't remember which side was which.

I tend to pay more attention to the business end when I'm working dogs lol kinda hard to see the tail anyway
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Old 12-02-2012, 03:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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My Hector's tail is up and wagging when he's working, too. Well, unless he's actually running of course, but any slower work it comes up and wags. Actually, the more focused he is, the higher his tail gets.

My other dog with a tail, Bandit (Scooter and Wooby were docked before I got them), uses his very differently though. When he's getting ready to herd, he holds his tail almost straight out. He doesn't really wag but it's his ready stance, and he'll give a single wag if I say something to him, like an acknowledgement. And then when he actually works, he uses it almost as a rudder. It's actually really cool to watch how he uses it, and anyone who docks their cattle dogs' tails are doing them a disservice in my opinion.

I love learning about canine body language. They are so expressive once you learn how to read them.
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Old 12-02-2012, 03:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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http://dericbownds.net/uploaded_images/vallortigara.pdf <-- published study

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Old 12-02-2012, 06:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for those of you that have posted some examples! I'm totally fascinated on this subject now....obviously I knew lower/tucked was submissive and higher was more dominant/excited, but there is so much more to tail wagging than I realized!

Jamie...funny about that video. I was just watching it and Medo was on the couch...he got up and went around to the other side of my laptop and was looking at it funny...there must be something in her bark that he finds disconcerting! He never does that and I listen to a lot of dogs barking on my laptop, lol!

I wonder what long, exuberant wagging that is equal on either side means? When I take Medo out of the crate when I get home he wags insanely so the tail hits both sides of his body...sp much excitement the tail is ricocheting off the body???

I hope people have more videos to post!
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilie View Post
Justine, I'm not qualified to answer your question, but I am moved to post that it was a true joy to watch Medo work in your video. He seems to really be enjoying what he is doing. There is no doubt that there is a partnership going on between you and Medo.

It made me smile watching it and think, "I want that."
Aww, thanks so much! He's maturing into such a nice boy, I'm so lucky. He is truly one of those dogs who loves to work just because it's FUN! He's been a joy to train, even if he's given me a few headaches along the way!
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