Right-sided dog tail wagging is a sign of contentment

Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing have come to the conclusion that right-sided tail wagging in dogs is a sign of contentment. They also decided that right-sided wagging is linked to the left side of the brain where positive emotions are processed.

Dog tail wagging
Dog tail wagging. Photo: Pixabay.

People are familiar with dogs wagging their tail when they meet their caregiver or a stranger. Dog owners perceive this as their dog being happy to meet them when they come home, for example.

The study suggests that dogs tend to wag their tails to the right when they are with someone with whom they are familiar and therefore relaxed and more content.

The researchers studied beagles meeting a stranger several times during the course of three days. As the dogs got to know the person their tails wagged more frequently to the right.

Dr. Deborah Wells, an animal behaviour expert at Queen’s University Belfast said: “Research shows that dogs can experience a range of emotions and some that can be likened to human happiness, joy and excitement.”

She agrees that it is impossible to know exactly what an animal is feeling at any given time but she said that “the switch to right-sided tail wagging suggests the dogs are perceiving the stranger in a more positive light given the passage of time.”

The research has been published in the journal iScience. They also found that each dog has their own personalised pattern of tail-wagging which is “similar to the distinct gaits of individual humans”.

Below are some more articles on dog behaviour.

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