Why are the Italians ahead of us in this vitally important dog research?
When dogs feel fundamentally positive about something or someone, their tails wag more to the right side of their rumps. When they have negative feelings, their tail wagging is biased to the left.
A study describing the phenomenon, “Asymmetric tail-wagging responses by dogs to different emotive stimuli,” appeared in the March 20 issue of Current Biology. The authors are Giorgio Vallortigara, a neuroscientist at the University of Trieste in Italy, and two veterinarians, Angelo Quaranta and Marcello Siniscalchi, at the University of Bari, also in Italy.
See, CK (pictured above) wildly wags his tail when I come home and I have not noticed a distinct bias in either direction. But then the fact that he throws himself on his back like a madman in order to get his belly rubbed essentially settles the "I'm happy to see you" question. It also makes clear who's in control. Hint: It's not me.