What Is A Dog’s Tail Made Of?It’s not a leg. It’s not an ear. What is a dog tail? It turns out, it’s actually an extension of our pup’s backbone. That’s right. It’s their spine. Muscle and bone work together to give our canine companions balance, and the ability to communicate with us and other dogs through common non-verbal cues.
Fun Facts About Why Dogs Wag Their Tails
- A wagging tail doesn’t always mean a dog is friendly and wants to be petted. Look for dilated pupils, stiff muscles or posture, and ears pinned all the way forward or back, instead of being relaxed and moving toward us as they wag and wiggle.
- Just like other body language, tails communicate strong emotions. They can be happy, agitated, annoyed, angry, or excited. Use tail wagging as a cue, but also factor in other body language cues. If uncertain, ask the dog guardian.
- It’s thought that the original purpose of a dog’s tail was for balance, similar to the way a cheetah uses its powerful and massive tail to help him make sharp turns at high speeds.
- Puppies don’t automatically know how to wag their tails. That’s a communication skill that shows itself around a month and a half when they are trying to communicate with their mom and the rest of the litter.
- As a littermate, puppies will use their tail to signal a white flag type of surrender when roughhousing gets too intense. Or they may wag their tail to ask for food from the canine adults in the family.
- Dog vision is particularly attuned to movement, more than detail. This makes the tail an important way they communicate. When dog tails are cropped, we are essentially muting them, making it more difficult for them to communicate with fellow canines. For about how dogs see the world around them, check out "Can Dogs See in the Dark?"
- Like docking a tail, cropping ears creates a very similar problem for dogs because ears are also an important way dogs communicate with each other - and with us.