The Guardian

Why do dogs wag their tails? You asked Google – here’s the answer | Jules Howard

Every day millions of people ask Google life’s most difficult questions. Our writers answer some of the commonest queries
‘Tail wagging is a good indicator of the friendliness of a dog.’ Photograph: SensorSpot/Getty Images

As luck would have it, this is rather a prescient question for me right now. At home, we are attempting to coax a neurotic four-year-old out of a dog-bite avoidance technique that works as follows. Upon seeing from a distance any four-legged animal that may or may not be a dog, the four-year-old elucidates an escape response that involves her climbing the torso of the nearest adult and wailing an ear-piercing song of terror that is deeply embarrassing to her zoologist father. Her new-found fear of dogs is understandable, however. Our pet cat (he of” fame) is now no more after being killed by two huskies that had escaped in the night from their owners. While explaining this news to the four-year-old, the two specific words “DOGS” and “KILLED” seem to have become clogged-up somewhere in the digestive system of her cognition, hence the sudden phobia which we are working hard as a family to resolve.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Guardian

The Guardian4 min read
Colombia's Rebel Poets: From 'Verbal Terrorists' To Favoured Sons
The Nadaistas, an iconoclastic group of young poets in Medellín, once sparked outrage but now their influence is felt from the metro to the corridors of power
The Guardian3 min read
‘Goats Are The Best Tool’: Grazers In High Demand To Reduce US Wildfire Risk
In the face of climate change and deadly fires, states from California to Colorado are turning hungry animals loose on the countryside
The Guardian8 min read
How Online Surveillance Is Killing Private Conversations
The Kim Darroch leaks highlight how hard it is to keep any communication confidential. How can we regain our privacy?