Is tail important in dog life? And is it possible to stop puppies' tails?
The tail is an important part of the dog’s body. Why does a dog need a tail? It is a continuation of the spine and plays a huge role both in communication (communication with relatives and representatives of other species), and in maintaining balance.
What does the dog “talk” about with its tail?
If you look at your dog, you will probably notice that the position and movements of its tail always mean something. It is a mood barometer and allows you to predict the intentions of your pet. However, it is important to learn to read the body signals of the dog, including those given by the tail, correctly.
For example, everyone knows that a tight tail is a sign of fear. And many are sure that the tail-waving dog is friendly. But is it?
Wagging the tail is not always a signal of friendliness, and you need to “read” it depending on the context: taking into account what is happening and what other signals of the dog’s body indicate. We can say that tail wagging, rather, means excitement, and it can be both joyful and not very.
For example, if a dog is preparing for a fight, it will also wave its tail. But at the same time, the tail is raised, tense and, as it were, trembles.
If a dog wags its tail, but holds it between its legs, under its stomach, then it is scared. And it’s definitely not worth pestering her with manifestations of friendship. True, you still need to consider the breed - for example, Italian greyhounds almost always keep their tail tightened.
If the dog’s tail is relaxed, and the animal waves it from side to side (and often also wriggles itself), then the dog is friendly, happy with life and glad to see you.
How does the tail help the dog move?
Kristin Kaldahl, an agility trainer, writes that the tail for a dog is like a rudder that helps maintain balance, such as when walking through an agility track.
Slowing down, the dog raises its tail, and accelerating or climbing a hill, lowers. If you need to maintain balance, the tail moves from side to side.
When the dog jumps, it lowers its tail - this helps it when taking off. And when landing, the tail rises - this increases traction.
Is it possible to stop the tail of a dog?
Stopping tails (removing part of the tail) has always been a difficult topic, generating a lot of controversy. Now it is banned in many countries, breed standards are being rewritten, and at international exhibitions held, for example, in Western Europe, dogs with cropped tails will soon cease to be evaluated. Therefore, more and more often you can meet Dobermans, Rottweilers, boxers and representatives of other breeds, whose tails recently resembled a “bubo”, with long “rudders”.
In the photo: Doberman with uncropped tail. Photo: wikimedia.org
Research (Wada et. Al., 1993) suggests that the pristine tail is important for coordinating movements, but dogs with docked tails are often successful in working and sporting. So still, some breeders still prefer to stop puppies' tails.
Another argument of supporters of stopping: representatives of some breeds are not so accustomed to having a tail and are so unbalanced that they hammer their tails all over in a row and knock them to ulcers. But in this case, perhaps it’s worthwhile to work on allowing breeding dogs with a more balanced temperament who are not trying to cripple themselves?
In our country, the question of whether to stop puppies' tail is still at the discretion of the breeder. And the owners have the right to decide for themselves where to buy a puppy - in nurseries, where the tails are still stopped for the kids, or where the tails of the dogs are left intact.