This is a re-post as the original source, my guest blogger appearance on Fido Friendly Magazine’s blog is gone and I wanted my article to survive. I apologize for the redundancy if you’ve already seen this and I welcome you if you haven’t.
Did you know that your dog’s wagging tail, tells tales?
A dog rarely wags their tail when they are alone. Why? Because it’s a method of communication, and dogs’ rarely talk to themselves. (We human’s have cornered the market on that particular level of neurosis.)
What we human’s forget to recognize is that a major form of dog communication is based on scent. We humans tend to forget about scent. By comparison, our olfactory abilities are pretty darned pitiful but the capabilities of a dogs’ nose is nothing short of amazing. When you take into consideration that for the first week of a dogs’ life, it’s their primary sense and interface to the world, the importance of scent becomes a little more clear.
By now you’re thinking, “Hey Kerri, I thought this article was about tails! You’ve gone off on one of your obscure tangents again.“ Well Yes, but really no. You see, the tail plays an important part in scent too.
Dogs use their tails to disperse their scent. They have a gland called the “Anal Gland,” that is located right under the base of the tail, next to the anus. It emits pheromones and other scents that pretty much broadcast everything another dog could possibly want to know about them: From age, health, sex, social status to emotional state.…& that wagging tail can send these signals a long, long ways.
Maybe even more importantly, dogs also leave “Pee-Mails” for each other in the form of urine markings that your dog can read and reply to later. Ever see a dog at the dog park sniffing and marking every tree and lamp post? That’s the equivalent of a canine’s email inbox, And their Pee-Mail messages contain a lot more crucial information and data than the YouTube video de ‘jour. It’s more like us exchanging our drivers license info, personal diaries, Trans-union credit reports and years of medical records, but it’s all accomplished in one simple puddle of piddle.
Of course some dogs prefer to read all of their Pee-mail first and then selectively reply. I think this is more of a learned behavior, taught by us unforgiving human’s that tend to bring Fido inside as soon as he or she has completed doing their “Business.” Either that or they’re making certain they don’t run out of ink in the middle of a message.
Some dogs take revealing their social status a step further by scratching at the ground next to their fecal or urinary deposits. Some Dog Behaviorists feel that’s the canine equivalent of taking a highlighter to their personal information or adding a post-it note that says, “HEY, READ THIS!”
A shy or insecure dog, may choose not to wag his tail. Why? because he or she doesn’t want to draw attention to himself. A tucked tail can actually work to stifle some of the info that is usually broadcast!
So you see, a dog’s tail really does tell tales!
Until next time,
Kerri P., The Alpha Dogs’ Wife
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