Did you hear the one about the boy afraid to pet a neighbor’s dog? The owner says, “He’s friendly – look, he’s even wagging his tail.” The boy responds, “Yeah, but he’s barking and growling. I don’t know which end to believe!”
Ok, stupid joke! It really is all about being able to read a dog’s body language. Is the tail wagging? What about the dog’s ears? Are they plastered back or standing nice and straight? Is the tail wagging and the butt wiggling? Is the tail wagging and the dog foaming at the mouth? If so, move away, very very carefully.
Clover’s body language tells anyone approaching her that she’s an idiotic, butt wiggling, tail whacking smacking nut job, that has never bitten anyone. This is one dog that has never even thought about biting, she would much rather take your knees out with her whip of a tale, sending you to the floor so she can sit on you and lick you to death.
Clover whacks that tail so hard when she is excited that she has, on occasion, split the end wide open sending a Jackson Pollock-ish splatter of blood everywhere. Its not a comforting sight, and can get really messy. I have become quite expert at wrapping Clover’s tail with bandages and antibiotics. I truly think that she lacks some nerves in her tail. Either that or she has a huge capacity for pain. I have always said her mind is wired a bit differently. The vet says Clover suffers from a serious syndrome, common to Labrador Retrievers known as Happy Tail.
Cosmo’s tail wagging ability is a huge disappointment to me. He can wag his tail, he just won’t. At least not for me. My mom walks in the room and his tail starts a-flapping. His ears are up, he’s watching her move around, and if she stops to pet him or says hello to him, his tail cranks up turbo style. For me? Pffft. Flap, wag, plop. I mean really, Clover wags her tail in her sleep. She wags her tail if I look at her, speak to her, or pet her. Cosmo? Flip, flap. That’s about it.
Cosmo has become expert at ducking Clover’s tail. Its really quite funny to see her dancing around with her tail whacking back and forth and Cosmo trying to dodge the tail-whacking. When Cosmo was still growing, the tail would hit him across the face and he became expert at ducking the whip. Now, he is taller than Clover, and lifts his head slightly and closes his eyes when the tail comes whipping around his way.
More Dog Tail Tales to come, including: “How I Broke Clover’s Tail (by me)” and, “What IS Cold Water Tail, And How Do I Get Rid of It (by Clover).” I’ll save these two subject for a future posting.
Sorry. I digress. Back to some dog tail facts that you just cannot live without!
- Dogs don’t wag their tails when they are alone.
- Tail wagging is simply a physiological means of getting rid of surplus energy.
- A dog uses its tail to provide balance when it is running or turning quickly.
- Many dogs use their tail as a rudder when they are swimming.
- Puppies do not wag their tails until they are about 4 months old.
- The number of tailbones, and therefore the length of the tail, varies from breed to breed.
- When dogs feel positive about something, a research team contended in their study, they wag their tails to the right side of their rear ends. When they have negative feelings, their tails lean left. (Ref the attached photo — I wonder if the body is pointing left if it negates the negative feelings of the tail?)