Sunday, May 1, 2011

Tail Talk Discussion

Melissa said...

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...

Melissa, thanks for the observations. Dogs talk with their whole bodies. Understanding tail talk is part of the communication picture.  
Stormy with the politically unchallenging tail is the leader of the gang here. Some dogs lead with brute force. The smarter dogs lead with finesse. I think these savvy pooches know how to keep their egos out of it.

Blondie is a lovable brute. She doesn’t think as much as she reacts to things. She holds the curl in her tail. How high she carries it tells how she is feeling. She has never had a physical challenge so she doesn’t need to be a shrewd girl.

Owl’s tail is the most variable. It’s low around the other two guys. If he forgets to lower the mast, the boys react to it. He promptly lowers it.

When Owl gets excited usually about hunting, he gets the high straight tail carriage. A strut always seems accompany the tail.

Owl has to be smart to not get his butt kicked. He sits back in the corner watching the other dogs. I suspect later he will be one of these smart dogs, who does not display his status, much like Stormy.

Bluto is a lovable dope. Stormy and Blondie can bully him. His life has been limited to his yard. Some males do that curved tail look. Does a dog lacking self confidence disguise himself ? Or do the curved male tails go with small testicles?

If tails are the indicator of status, how absolutely brilliant of the smaller leader to not advertise or to give the brute something to challenge!

Is this the level of evolution that gave birth to deceit or duplicity? Ha-ha, makes you wonder.

In groups of dogs the language of the tails is the peace keeper. Our pet puppies don’t have opportunity to learn this language. Can you imagine how devastating early isolation would be to our communication skills?

So keep swinging yer tail, Tricia

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