It comes down to a dog’s state of mind. Saying that your pooch is just happy to see you is oversimplifying things.
A tail is used by a canine as an extension of expressing emotions that are highly complex in nature. We humans move our faces as well as our eyes. For a dog, it comes down to the ears & tail to convey a lot of body language communication.
When it comes to the tail, look at its position, direction & speed of movement. Each will provide a clue not only about intention, but also the dog’s state of mind. There’s now a whole lot of unforeseen evidence that’s helping canine caretakers understand more of their pooch’s daily tail-wagging psyche.
Dogs tend to lower their tails in order to lessen their size outlook to other canines, when their encounter may turn out to be stressed. In regards to tail-pointing, that appendage’s direction is a clue that would reveal that canine’s state of emotion.
This was studied out by measuring wagging direction (either left or right) when a specific stimulus was introduced. That included emotion-inducing activities related to being able to see their caretakers, or a cat, as well as another dog or person unfamiliar to the pooch.
The brain mechanics that control left to right tail movement in dogs, are found at the opposite side of where the tail is moving. Meaning, if the tail goes right, the cerebral activity related to it would be found in the left hemisphere.
Same goes for the opposite. But tail-wagging to the right was found to be more closely associated with reacting to a known entity, likely to be their caretaker. So, tail to the right should be misconstrued as a good sign.
Come back next time as we keep exploring this ‘tale of a tail’.