How Do Dog Tails Work? What Are The Effects Of Docking A Dogs Tail?

Through the actions of their tail, we can read when a dog is happy, scared, or alert! But have you ever wondered, how do dog tails work?

A dog’s tail reacts according to what the dog feels. A dog wagging his tail is a happy dog, while a dog whose tail is curled under his body is a scared dog. Dogs tell us a lot just with their tails!

Dogs cannot talk and their tail might be their most effective means of communication!


What’s Inside A Dog’s Tail?

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A tail is an extension of the dog’s backbone. The length of a dog’s tail depends on the dog’s breed.

A Dachshund’s tail is long and straight while a Corgi’s tail looks like a tiny pompom sticking out of his bum. Labrador Retrievers have otter tails – round tails that are thick at the base and taper to the tip.

Dog tails are made up of muscles and bones that work together to create movement. Tendons allow the dog to move his tail in different directions and even control the tip apart from the rest!

A dog’s tail is made up of anywhere between four and seven different pairs of nerves depending on a dog’s breed and size.


Why Do Dogs Wag Their Tails?

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A wagging tail usually means the dog is happy but dogs actually wag their tails for a variety of reasons. The direction and height of the wag have different meanings.

Some dogs have tails that hang naturally low to ground while some, like Pugs and Shiba Inus, twirl toward the sky. When figuring out what a dog is feeling, you should consider the changes to his tail’s natural position.

Generally, dogs who lower their tails are usually feeling anxious, scared or submissive. When a dog’s tail is pointing straight out, the pup could either be curious or aggressive.

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Meanwhile, a tail wag can also express emotion. Tails wagging toward the right generally means the dog is excited or happy, while movement to the left is a sign of trepidation or anger.

The reason behind this is that each side of a dog’s brain controls opposite sides of the body. The left side of a dog’s brain is in charge of emotions like love and attachment, while the right brain controls feelings like fear and anxiety.  This means a dog wags his tail to right because of his left brain, and when he’s scared his right brain commands it to sway left.


Why You Should Leave Your Dog’s Tail Intact?

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Since dogs have 4 to 7 pairs of nerves in their tail, dogs do feel pain when their tail is removed. Especially since anesthetics aren’t even used in most tail docking operations.

Aside from letting us know what’s in a dog’s mind, the tail provides a dog balance when running and swimming.

Also, when a dog wags his tail, the tail releases his scent so other animals can know he’s there! The more dominant the dog, the higher he will raise his tail to spread his scent.

Nowadays, docking a dog’s tail is merely for aesthetics. Owners are not only inflicting unnecessary pain on their dogs, they are also missing out on seeing their dog’s wide array of emotions.

Some owners argue that tail docking was once necessary for working dogs –such as Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers, and more – because their tail could get caught. But since most dogs are companion animals today, it has become completely cosmetic.

How about you? Would you have your dog’s tail docked?


Source: The Dodo

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