Saturday, April 28, 2007

Wag the Dog Right

One of the most e-mailed NY Times stories this week was one about dogs' tail-wagging habits. Apparently, if your dog likes you, he'll wag his tail to the right. If he doesn't, he'll wag it to the left.

Since I am a dog nut and the owner of two Belgian Malinois shepherd dogs, this paragraph caught my eye.

When the dogs saw their owners, their tails all wagged vigorously with a bias to the right side of their bodies, Dr. Vallortigara said. Their tails wagged moderately, again more to the right, when faced with an unfamiliar human. Looking at the cat, a four-year-old male whose owners volunteered him for the experiment, the dogs’ tails again wagged more to the right but in a lower amplitude. When the dogs looked at an aggressive, unfamiliar dog — a large Belgian shepherd Malinois — their tails all wagged with a bias to the left side of their bodies.
I just don't get that. How could you not wag right for a face like this?


Anonymous said...

With my two -- count 'em -- two Cairn Terriers, they've never met a dog they didn't want to play with or be submissive to (it's part of the nature of some rescue dogs). While your doggie's face is darling, mine are, well, beyond cute.

However, I saw the same NYTimes article and started looking at their tails. One tail just goes so fast (when she sees me) that I can't tell left or right. The other one just bounces up and down. And up and down.

My dogs don't fit that article, but they're always glad to see me, no matter what.h

David Wharton said...

I can't tell which way mine wag either.

Catherine O'Hara and Eugene Levy agree with you about the cuteness of terriers!