We could be one step closer to solving the wonderful mystery of why dogs wag their tails. While most people believe that tail-wagging shows that a dog is excited to see them, a new study suggests otherwise.
New answer to why dogs wag their tails
Dogs may be wagging their tails to grab the attention of humans, to appear better-suited to domestication.
A new study published in The Royal Society Publishing Journal suggests that while tail wagging represents a whole canine language, there’s more to it. In other words, there’s another little-known, scientific reason behind this endearing behavior by man’s best friend. Surprisingly, this reason has nothing to do with communication.
As per the new study, tail-wagging in dogs is a by-product of the domestication process.
During the earlier years of dog domestication, humans would select and keep dogs who wagged their tails more.
In this case, humans looking for dogs to domesticate considered tail-wagging a desirable trait. To humans, this trait insinuated how friendly and submissive the canine would be as a pet. As a result, dogs became adapted to wagging their tails more for domestication’s sake.
In the study, the research team described the tail-wagging movement as “rhythmic stimuli.” According to the researchers, the human brain gets more drawn to these tail movements. Interestingly, the brain tends to release pleasurable feelings in response to the stimuli.
Silvia Leonetti, one of the researchers, explained this possible theory to The Guardian. “We put forth a new hypothesis that humans consciously or unconsciously selected for tail wagging during the domestication process because we are very attracted to rhythmic stimuli,” she said.
The researchers intend to study this behavior further to see if any other theories will emerge.
While a dog might not be wagging its tail because it’s happy to see you, here are some other telltale signs indicating that your pup loves you.