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Why do dogs wag their tails?  Scientists blame humans

Why do dogs wag their tails? Scientists blame humans

There is no one who is not moved by a dog who is so happy that he wags his tail incessantly. But is this normal behavior for animals? According to some scholars, no.

Four dog-loving scientists interested in the evolution of human cognition investigated what science knows about the topic so far. According to the new study published in the journal Biology lettersTail wagging may be a legacy of domestication imposed on dogs by men.


“We may not be able to go back in time to the beginning of the relationship between dogs and humans, but we can look at dog behavior today in conjunction with human behavior to try to understand what this domestication process was like,” Taylor Hirsch said. , one of the researchers who wrote the research.

Understand the research

To analyze the origins of dog behavior, researchers reviewed more than 100 studies investigating why dogs wag their tails. Thus, they note, some research has concluded that the direction of movement indicates the positive or negative charge of what the animals are interacting with.

For example, dogs wag their tails to the right in response to positive experiences, such as seeing their owners. When they encounter negative situations, such as when they want to leave the environment, they shift to the left.


Furthermore, the literature review also allowed researchers to identify dogs that wag their tails more frequently and in more contexts than other canines.

For the research authors, a likely explanation is the domestication process that the animals went through. It is generally believed that humans domesticated dogs between 15,000 and 50,000 years ago. As a result of this process, a human-dog bond still exists today.

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“We propose a new hypothesis that humans chose, consciously or unconsciously, to wag the tail during the domestication process because we are strongly attracted to rhythmic stimuli,” said Silvia Leonetti, also an author of the research.


For scientists, ancient humans saw tail swinging as a positive sign, as they easily understood what wolves meant when they made this movement.

According to the researchers, previous studies have already proven that there are characteristics of dogs that arose due to their genetic connection to behaviors chosen by humans. For example, gentleness and obedience.

Now, they intend to conduct experiments that will allow them to monitor not only dogs, but also their interactions with humans.