NCBI ROFL: Behavioural responses of dogs to asymmetrical tail wagging of a robotic dog replica.

By ncbi rofl | December 9, 2010 7:00 pm

3078602746_c2a79c25da_z“Recent evidence suggests that bilateral asymmetry in the amplitude of tail wagging of domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) is associated with approach (right wag) versus withdrawal (left wag) motivation and may be the by-product of hemispheric dominance. We consider whether such asymmetry in motion of the tail, a crucial appendage in intra-specific communication in all canids, provides visual information to a conspecific leading to differential behaviour. To evaluate this, we experimentally investigated the approach behaviour of free-ranging dogs to the asymmetric tail wagging of a life-size robotic dog replica. Our data, involving 452 separate interactions, showed a significantly greater proportion of dogs approaching the model continuously without stopping when the tail wagged to the left, compared with a right wag, which was more likely to yield stops. While the results indicate that laterality of a wagging tail provides behavioural information to conspecifics, the responses are not readily integrated into the predicted behaviour based on hemispheric dominance.”

dog_tail_wag_assymetry

Photo: flickr/Mike Willis

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: fun with animals, NCBI ROFL
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NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl

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