My dog wags on the right side (that’s the good side)

Whether your dog wags on the right side or the left means something – to other dogs and to observant humans…

Credit:  Siniscalchi et al.

Photo Credit: Siniscalchi et al.

Research by an Italian team has shown that dogs, like humans, have asymmetrically organized brains, with the left and right sides playing different roles.  The team has published their research in the journal Current Biology.

The research team had already found that dogs wag to the right when they feel positive emotions (upon seeing their owners, for instance) and to the left when they feel negative emotions (upon seeing an unfriendly dog, for example). That biased tail-wagging behavior reflects what is happening in the dogs’ brains. Left-brain activation produces a wag to the right, and right-brain activation produces a wag to the left.

The latest research, however, shows that the direction of tail-wagging means something to other dogs.  While monitoring their reactions, the researchers showed dogs videos of other dogs with either left- or right-asymmetric tail wagging. When dogs saw another dog wagging to the left, their heart rates picked up and they began to look anxious. When dogs saw another dog wagging to the right, they stayed perfectly relaxed.

Researcher Giorgio Vallortigara of the Center for Mind/Brain Sciences of the University of Trento says that the direction of tail-wagging a clear indication of right or left brain activation and could have many applications, such as determining state of mind during a visit to the vet.

So now that you know about this research, think about the wags on these dogs and what are they trying to say?

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One response to “My dog wags on the right side (that’s the good side)

  1. Very good information to know! I’ll have to come back (hope I remember), to watch the videos. What an interesting subject!

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