Saturday, April 23, 2011

What Does Tail Carriage Say?

The tale of three tails tells so much about who they are.

Blondie carries her tail in typical bitch fashion for a Puerto Rican street dog. The curl in the tail is most common to the females. She shows off her female parts confidently.

Owl (white dog dark head) has the most variable tail. It goes from typical poker straight male tail to look at this broken tail, can you see how it just hangs! He’s young and smart; confidence is coming. In the aroused state he carries it high. He knows when to lower it. For a taller dog to get Stormy to accept his presence, it’s an uphill battle. Owl manages to get along with both males few incidents.

Bluto grew up in his yard. He doesn’t have confidence. His tail curve got bitchier when his people moved. He is na├»ve, doesn’t know how to play with the other dogs. He rough houses with Blondie a bit. If she’s playing with Owl, he stands next to them barking; he’s doing that in the picture above.

He has small testicles held tight to the body. Maybe, one of you vets can tell me about testicular tissue mass contributing to gender characteristics; i.e. the bitch like tail carriage.

Stormy still bullies him. Blondie beat the snot out of him yesterday. She turned away from her dish; he got in it. She turned her head, saw him and it was on! He bit her hard; oh, was that wrong. All he did was cry after that mistake.

Once Bluto realizes his strength, if he overcomes his fears, things will change. It seems to me that as Bluto gains experience in the street, his confidence increases. When Blondie and Stormy are off, he gets cocky protecting the veranda. Just this morning during a protection event; he straightened the tail by a full fifty per cent, most impressive macho. He had a sheltered life, waah, he is a poor baby. At least that’s what I think so far. The more I watch, the more seems to come together.

Stormy has the most interesting tail of all, the broken rat tail. Not to be graphic, but it hangs like a limp dick. It tells the other males that he has no power at all.

Groups of males hang out; cocky boys have their tails raised like banners of social status.

The young Stormy’s tail was carried straight out, an extension of his spine; not straight up. The tail was lowered in two events in this dog’s life. Both were dog fights.

The first fight he came home with wounds on head, ears, neck and bad back leg. He hardly picked up his head as I cleaned him up. When he healed up, his tail carriage was low.

Stormy loves for me to work on his back. I’ve worked on hundreds of dog tails back in Illinois, so I am surprised when he doesn’t want me to do the work that will change his tail back. Conscious choice to keep his tail low??

The second incident was an event some dogs ganged up on him. It was breeding season; he lost his head. He lay under a car for days without moving according to a neighbor. We saw him about a month later; he looked like he tangled with a lawn mower. That was two years ago. His tail has dangled ever since.

Oddly, if Stormy is very happy; he can wag his tail.

The genius of Stormy’s low tail is that the cocky boys don’t alert to him to see him as a challenge. They put up with crap from him that they wouldn’t from a male with an erect tail.

When Stormy stays in the dog’s peripheral vision without the tail mark, he can bark his butt off. The other dog gets annoyed, but doesn’t react. Stormy is able to take advantage of this sweet spot for him because his tail doesn’t give him away.  

So with this tail raising and lowering going on that keeps the peace; what does that tell us about dog socialization, dog language and dog park??

Don’t be shy; tell me what you think. Mean while wag yer tail. Tricia

1 comment:

  1. Tails and dogs are a never ending fascination for me. They can say so many different things. With my boy I can tell so much about what he is thinking by the position and then the movement that goes with it. His tail is most often held above body level. A high stiff tail if usually accompanied by stiff legs and a little bit of an attitude. A high tail wagging quick and short means, "Hey girlie, I like you..." His tail has a different position when interacting with me, it is relaxed lowered and seems to wiggle with his whole butt attached. He also does this lowered relaxed wiggle butt when he sees his "girls" after being gone.

    My girls also have a lot to say with their tails. I live with 5 bitches and their tail carriage differs depending on who they are interacting with. My youngest rarely carries her tail at back level or higher at home. When we have company her age or younger she all of the sudden has this beautiful straight off the back tail (I would love to see this confident tail in the show ring with her...) When introduced to some younger puppies a few weeks ago I saw her tail higher than ever. My older girls also vary tail carriage depending on who they are interacting with, very interesting, it an change in a moment. It definitely seems to be a peace keeper. The strange this is, is the bitch in charge has a very low tail and rarely raises it very high. Is this confidence? I don't know. She never has the tail up look that Blonde does so well...

    Our oddball terrier mix has a natural curl up towards the back set. This dog came with my fiance and my existing dogs had a very hard time with her at first. I think her "cocky" tail carriage sent a lot of the wrong message. This terrier grew up by her self and never interacted with other dogs until I came around with my "pack". They've accepted her tail over the years, but there seemed to be a lot of mixed communication in the beginning.