Wednesday, April 25, 2007

What if your dog wags its entire body?

There was an interesting article in yesterday's New York Times: "If you want to know if Spot Loves You So, It's in His Tail." I'm still trying to parse that headline, but we all know that Sandy Blakeslee probably had nothing to do with that, so I'll let it go.

Italian scientists have shown that when a dog feels fundamentally positive about something or someone, their tails wag more to the right of their rumps. When they have negative feelings, their tails wag with a portside bias.

It basically confirms of what scientists already know about brain assymetry in humans and other animals.
In most animals, including birds, fish and frogs, the left brain specializes in behaviors involving what the scientists call approach and energy enrichment. In humans, that means the left brain is associated with positive feelings, like love, a sense of attachment, a feeling of safety and calm. It is also associated with physiological markers, like a slow heart rate.

At a fundamental level, the right brain specializes in behaviors involving withdrawal and energy expenditure. In humans, these behaviors, like fleeing, are associated with feelings like fear and depression. Physiological signals include a rapid heart rate and the shutdown of the digestive system.

What's interesting about this study is that the tail is smack dab in the middle, so would it follow the pattern? And the answer is that it does.

And now it's your turn, "Speak". What does Belle have to say about that?


Speak(er) said...

What does it mean if I don't wag at all? I mean I give a gentle wag to Lu sometimes, but usually I just wiggle and turn around and quiver with every muscle I own?

caraf said...

What does Gracie do?

Patbrace said...

I have no wag theories, being a cat owner. Cats, as we all know, do not wag. They barely register our existence.

Regarding the headline, though, it is a reference to Dusty Springfield's old song, circa 1966???(written by Aretha)...surely you know it:
Does he love me, I want to know
How can I tell if he loves me so?

Is it in his face?
(Oh no that's just his charms)
In his warm embrace?
(Oh no that's just his arms)
If you want to know
If he loves you so
It's in his kiss
That's where it is, oh yeah,
It's in his kiss.

Speak(er) said...

...isn't that also known as the "Shoop, Shoop" song?