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Is Your Dog Happy?

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Is Your Dog Happy?

By Julia Kamysz Lane

The next time your dog greets you when you come home, closely watch his tail. Scientists have discovered that a happy dog will wag harder to the right and an anxious dog will wag harder to the left.

The study’s findings, “Asymmetric tail-wagging responses by dogs to different emotive stimuli,” was recently published in Current Biology. Co-authors include neuroscientist Giorgio Vallortigara of the University of Trieste in Italy, and veterinarians Angelo Quaranta and Marcello Siniscalchi, at the University of Bari in Italy.

In humans, it’s well documented that the brain is divided into two cerebral hemispheres–left and right–which serve different functions and control opposite sides of the body. Most animals also demonstrate a difference between “left brain” and “right brain” functions. It is believed that the left brain in animals specializes in “approach and energy enrichment,” such as finding food. The right brain specializes in “withdrawal and energy expenditure,” such as fleeing in response to fear. Because the dog’s tail is located along the body’s midline, researchers questioned whether or not the tail displayed emotional asymmetry.

Thirty mixed-breed dogs, family pets, served as the researchers’ subjects. Each dog was put in a cage specially fitted with cameras to capture the precise angle of the dog’s tail movement. The dog was then shown four separate stimuli–his owner; a stranger; a friendly cat; and an unfamiliar, intimidating dog–for one minute each.

Next: the results

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Read more: Behavior & Communication, Dogs, Pets, , ,

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7:04PM PDT on Jun 27, 2013

I am sure many dogs arent happy being treated so badly, always having to obey, being neglected, punished yelled at for every single little thing, but there are also many dogs that are happy cause their owners really care about them.

4:34PM PDT on Oct 20, 2012

I Hope My Mimi is happy I love her sooooo much

8:56AM PDT on Sep 19, 2011

I'm not sure about his tail but my dog will not leave my side's sweet but I swear I have almost broken my neck tripping over him! I still love him!

1:24PM PDT on Jul 10, 2011

Interesting! Thank you.

8:21AM PDT on Jul 4, 2011

In obedience class we learned that patting our dog makes us happy, but chewing makes the dog happy.

9:50AM PDT on Jun 26, 2011

thank you for posting

11:07AM PDT on Jun 21, 2011

My four rescue dogs are VERY happy and they make me VERY happy. Hard to have a bad day when they shower you with love and affection.

7:55AM PDT on Jun 19, 2011

Dogs are always happy. Even when you've had a bad day, they greet your with a wagging tail of comfort to cheer you up.

7:53AM PDT on Jun 19, 2011

MY dog isn't happy, He's spoilt Rotten to the core like my kids are.

1:17AM PDT on Jun 19, 2011


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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Nice infographics ;)

Helpful information, thanks.

thanks for the info

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