• Akita association of Ireland first championship show 20 June 2015

    A lovely day  was had by all at the  Akita Association Of Ireland’s first championship show. Congratulations  to all the winners.  We are delighted that our first championship show was such a success and thank you to all who supported the show and special thanks to  Dave Killilea of Redwitch Akitas for judging.

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  • Akita Association of Ireland Club Show 2014

    The Akita Association of Ireland Breed Club Show was held on Sunday 19 October 2014  Thank you  Mr Ross Delmar our Judge and thanks to our sponsor Petsolutions UK Eire and of course to all the people who help on the day and all that came along to  make the day a great success.   […]

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  • 2015 Calendar

    The Akita Association of Ireland  are now taking orders for  adverts for their 2015 calender. Any member wishing to take out an advert can do so by emailing a photograph of their dog or dogs to  bob.modelvill@gmail.com. The cost is €50 per advert and the photograph must be over 1200 pixels.

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  • Dog Friendly B&B

    Please take your membership card along with you when staying at any of the following as you may be asked for it. The Akita Association of Ireland have negotiated a 20% discount for all members at the dog friendly Rockville House B&B in Cashell, Co Tipperrary. This applies to all bookings made direct with Rockville House.  Akita Association members […]

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  • St Patrick’s Day Pet Expo 2014

    The association were pleased to be at the IKC St Patrick’d Day pet expo 2014 Thanks are due to all who gave up their weekend…human and dogs to promote the breeds and make it another  great success for the Association.  Huge thank you to all the visitors to the stand who came to see and learn a little […]

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                                                                                                                                                  Do you understand what your dog is telling you with his tail

The waggy tail tells you a lot about your dogs mood.
Researchers are always providing new information that allows us to understand the behaviour of dogs, or to reinterpret behaviour which we thought we understood very well-such as the meaning of a dog’s tail wagging.

Perhaps the most common misinterpretation of dogs is the myth that a dog wagging its tail is happy and friendly. While some wags are indeed associated with happiness, others can mean fear, insecurity, a social challenge or even a warning that if you approach, you are likely to be bitten.

In some ways, tail wagging serves the same communication functions as a human smile, a polite greeting or a nod of recognition. Smiles are social signals and are thus reserved mostly for situations where somebody is around to see them. For dogs, tail wagging seems to have the same purpose.

Since tail wagging is meant as signal a dog will only wag its tail when other living beings are around-e.g. a person, another dog, a cat, a horse or perhaps something that is moved by the wind and might seem alive. When the dog is by itself, it will not give its typical tail wags, in the same way people do not talk to walls.

Like any other language, tail wags have a vocabulary and grammar that needs to be understood. Up to now scientists focused on two major sources of information, namely the tail’s pattern of movement and its position. However new data adds a third important dimension to understanding the language of the canine tail.

Movement is a very important aspect of the signal. Dogs’ eyes are much more sensitive to movement than they are to details or colours, so a moving tail is very visible to other dogs. Evolution has made tails even more visible, such as tails with a light or dark tip, a lighter underside or a bushy shape.

The tail’s position-specifically, the height at which it is held-can be considered a sort of emotional meter. A middle height suggests the dog is relaxed. If the tail is held horizontally, the dog is attentive and alert. As the tail position moves further up, it is a sign the dog is becoming more threatening, with a vertical tail being a clearly dominant signal meaning, “I’m boss around here,” or even a warning, “Back off or suffer the consequences.”

As the tail position drops lower, it is a sign the dog is becoming more submissive, is worried or feels poorly. The extreme expression is the tail tucked under the body, which is a sign of fear, meaning, “Please don’t hurt me.”

Just as there are different dialects to a human language, such as Geordie, Liverpudlian, Scots or Irish there are also dialects in dogs’ tail language. Different breeds carry their tails at different heights, from the natural nearly vertical position common to Beagles and many Terriers to the low-slung tails of Greyhounds and Whippets. All positions should be read relative to the average position where the individual breed normally carries its tail.
Movements give additional meaning to the signals. The speed of the wag indicates how excited the dog is. Meanwhile, the breadth of each tail sweep reveals whether the dog’s emotional state is positive or negative, independent from the level of excitement.
As a result, there are many combinations, including the following common tail movements:
 A slight wag-with each swing of only small breadth-is usually seen during greetings as a tentative “Hello there,” or a hopeful “I’m here.”
 A broad wag is friendly; “I am not challenging or threatening you.” This can also mean, “I’m pleased,” which is the closest to the popular concept of the happiness wag, especially if the tail seems to drag the hips with it.
 A slow wag with tail at ‘half-mast’ is less social than most other tail signals. Generally speaking, slow wags with the tail in neither a particularly dominant (high) nor a submissive (low) position are signs of insecurity.
 Tiny, high-speed movements that give the impression of the tail vibrating are signs the dog is about to do something-usually run or fight usually. If the tail is held high while vibrating, it is most likely an active threat.

We can now add another newly discovered, feature of dog tail language that may surprise attentive pet owners as much as it surprised some researchers . It now appears that when dogs feel generally positive about something or someone, their tails wag more to the right side of their rear ends, and when they have negative feelings, their tail wagging is biased to the left.
Giorgio Vallortigara, a neuroscientist at the University of Trieste in Italy, and two veterinarians, Angelo Quaranta and Marcello Siniscalchi, at the University of Bari published a paper describing this phenomenon in the journal Current Biology. The researchers recruited 30 family pets of mixed breed and placed them in a cage equipped with cameras that precisely tracked the angles of their tail wags. Then they were shown four stimuli in the front of the cage: their owner; an unfamiliar human; a cat; and an unfamiliar, dominant dog.
When the dogs saw their owners, their tails all wagged vigorously with a bias to the right side of their bodies, while an unfamiliar human caused their tails to wag moderately to the right. Looking at the cat, the dogs’ tails again wagged more to the right but more slowly and with restrained movements. However the sight of an aggressive, unfamiliar dog caused their tails to wag with a bias to the left side of their bodies.
It is important to understand that we are talking about the dog’s left or right viewed from the rear as if you are facing in the direction the dog is viewing. That means that if you are facing the dog and drew an imaginary line down the middle of his back that positive right-sided signal would appear as tail swings mostly curving to your left. Breeds with docked tails are an even better challenge !!