Wednesday, August 15, 2012

How Dogs Communicate Using Their Tail

Dogs use their tails to and other things to communicate with you their moods. The emphasis on the use of the tail for communication varies, depending on the breed concerned. Dogs can communicate a wide range of behaviors with their tails, from excitement to aggression.

Tail Talk
Some dogs are better equipped to communicate with their tails than others. Breeds such as herding dogs tend not to rely on their tails to any significant extent, whereas many toy breeds, such as the Chihuahuas, use their tails as a very important means of communication with their owners. The tail provides an instant way of indicating their mood, which can then be responded to.

Reading the signs
A raised tail signifies that a dog is alert and paying attention to what is happening in its environment. Such behavior can soon lead to a more engaged response with the dog wagging its tail enthusiastically from side to side. This signifies excitement, with dogs usually greeting their owner in this way if they have been separated for any length of time. Should the tail be extended in a more horizontal position, this can be a sign of uncertainty, while a tail that is tucked down between the hind legs is typically seen in a nervous chastened individual. Prominent tails can run the risk of being badly injured, though, in case of sporting dogs, and this is why the tails of dogs kept entirely for field work are still sometimes docked in countries that otherwise ban this practise.

Tail Variations
Just as with the ears, there is considerable variation in tail shape, size and flexibility, which accounts for the varying emphasis placed on the tail in canine communication between different breeds. One of the characteristic of the Spitz group of breeds, for example, is the way that their tails curl down over the back and forward to on side. A few breeds, especially members of the herding group, may be born with tails that are much shorter than normal, or even absent; these individual are know as “bobtails”. Breeds with long coats have longer fur on their tails as well, so their tails are heavier and les flexible when it comes to communication. Many smooth-coated hounds, such as the Bloodhound, have tails that allow pack members to spot them easily when they are pursuing their quarry through undergrowth. It is for this reason that they tend to display them held high over their backs.

Tall Stretch
Dogs that just wake up may give it a big stretch with its tail and its body. It may extend the tail horizontally at first, before wagging it from side to side and then keeping it raised, while waiting to see what is happening. A range of muscles are responsible for controlling the position of the tail and its movement.

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