Hello adored petlover! This week we’ll talk about your dog’s tail, a vital part for them, and we’ll tell you why:
They’re long and thin, short and rudimentary, thick, hairy and less hairy, stylized… Nice tails, each and every one of them are necessary for their quadruped owners. They need them, for example, to communicate and socialize with their fellow dogs and they also help us humans to understand them better.
Did you know their tail movement is used to disperse the pheromones their anal glands segregate, helping them communicate their mood state to other dogs?
Yes, that’s right, each dog’s pheromones have a unique smell equivalent to a human’s fingerprint. When a dog doesn’t want to be seen or it wants to show submission, it will lower its tail, stopping the spreading of these pheromones. But if they raise their tail they’ll release a big amount of pheromones which will be dispersed with the tail’s movement, letting the other dogs know the boss is here!
Pay close attention to the movements of your dog’s tail, and you’ll understand them a lot better!
If I move it in circles, like a fan: I’m happy! Come play with me!!
If I move it energetically side to side: I’m very excited and impatient! I want to do something but I’m afraid of what may happen!
If I make short and fast movements with the tail, and my ears point back showing my teeth, get ready because I’m thinking my strategy: I plan on attacking or defending myself against what may come, I’m ready!
If my tail is pointing upwards and still, it means the “king of the jungle” has arrived, and I want to impose my authority. If my tail is horizontal and straight: I’m 100% focused. If it’s also tense it means I feel challenged; if it’s lifted but curved: I trust you and feel safe.
If my tail is down, close to my back paws and I’m making slight movements to the sides: I’m uncomfortable, something is worrying me.
When my leg is between my paws I’m afraid, I’m scared and submissive towards another dominant being.
In other words, making the wrong decision to amputate a dog’s tail will harm them heavily, causing serious problems when it comes to communicating with other dogs.
If you remove my tail I won’t be able to contain my pheromones, which means I won’t be able to go unnoticed in whichever situation I don’t like!!
HOW IS A DOG’S TAIL, PHYSIOLOGICALLY?
Their tail is the extension of their spine, it is formed by vertebrae covered in a versatile musculature and segmented especially on its tip: this lets them make very precise and specific movements.
Greyhounds use their very long and thin tail, in comparison to their body, as a counterweight. For example, they use it to make closed turns or change direction while running: it provides them with agility!
Some dogs are bred for labor or water sports: Their thick, strong and very flexible tails let them move with ease and maneuver in water.
Some nordic and arctic races have tails with a very long and hairy mantle. Can you guess why it’s this way?
They use them to cover and protect themselves from the cold, if they need to sleep outdoors, sitting on it.
If you want to know more about your dog’s language, we recommend reading the book Turid Rugaas, the silent communication of dogs.
Note:*In Spain, Congress banned this horrible practice in 2017, ratified by the European Agreement in charge of protecting companion animals.