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Tail-wagging Triggers Emotional Response in Dogs, Research Finds
November 1, 2013

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That look is proof that the tail wags the dog.

Videos are a part of new research out of Italy into how dogs' behavior can be monitored and caused, and the videos clearly show that the dogs studied responded to seeing other dogs wagging their tails.

Research done a few years ago discovered that dogs wag their tails more to the right when they see something positive and more to the left when they see something negative. Recent research done by the University of Trento's Giorgio Vallortigara and others involved observing 43 dogs (beagles, boxers, German shepherds, Rottweilers, even mongrels) as the animals themselves were shown videos of other dogs wagging their tails.

The difference found by Vallortigara's research was that is the dogs had an elevated heart rate after viewing another dog's wagging its tail to the left. Seeing that evidence of a negative response caused the dogs to respond with more stress and more readiness.

The research found no such biological change in the dogs that viewed videos of other dogs wagging their tails to the right or not wagging their tails at all.

The authors of the study said that their results showed different brain activity, depending on emotional cues displayed by other animals. The study appeared in the recent edition of the journal Current Biology.

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