And Thereby Hangs a Tail

And the longer it is, the better. At least according to a recent study entitled “Behavioral responses of Canis familiaris to different tail lengths of a remotely-controlled life-size dog replica.”

Say what????

In simple terms, does the length of a dog’s tail matter to other dogs? Sorry, Pablo. The answer is yes.

In the study, 500 dogs were videotaped as they approached a robot dog with either a short tail or a long one. Sometimes the tail was wagging and sometimes it was still. The results? A wagging long tail won out. Dogs were more likely to approach this robot without hesitation than a robot with a short tail, whether wagging or still. The researchers concluded that dogs find it easier to understand what a tail is saying (one way dogs communicate is through their tails) when the tail is long. Dogs with short, curled, or docked tails have a harder time getting their messages across.

Read more about the story in this blog post by Bark magazine, while I go and console Pablo.


1 Comment

Filed under Canine intelligence

One response to “And Thereby Hangs a Tail

  1. ADA

    Interesting that your title was the kennel name for my non bobtail! The first to have qualified for Crufts.
    Referring to the robot dog – what it didn’t have were the scent glands which are found on the SURFACE of the dog’s tail and are often in the removed section of the docked tail. These glands may still be relevant to communication in the domesticated dog as when wagging they possibly waft pheromones. Check out Pablo’s if he will let you – the hair is usually coarser and of different colour around them and they are sited about a third the way down from the tail root.

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