Oh that tail
I have for many, many years now thought that the process of tail docking should end. It is a hugely controversial subject and one that has gotten me into the thick of it with many a tail docking fans. After many years of searching for a new puppy we ended up getting one from a breeder who feels the same way about tails. The litter that Elsa is from was the first for the breeder which she did not dock tails. I remembered years ago looking at a breeders website somewhere in BC, Canada who was not docking tails. When it came time for us to get another puppy I could no longer find the link to the site so I was more than ecstatic when my breeder told me she planned on not docking.
"They aren't balanced," "they don't look like a poodle," "it has always been done." These are many of the phrases I've heard repeated over the years. Not balanced? How can we possibly say that when our dogs are born with a certain length of tail? Look at wolves, they are completely balanced with their long tails. My son recently commented on Elsa's tail which inspired this blog today. "Elsa totally uses her tail, why would they cut them off?" he exclaimed while watching her play in the yard. He could not understand the reasoning behind docking tails so I tried to explain where it came from.
Some breeds have very short or little tail at all due to their being guard dogs; others are docked due to the concern about their tail being caught in some sort of bushes, tethers or straps. Have you ever seen a Doberman with intact tail and ears? Very hound looking and not that scary at all. Many breeders and tail docking fans say that it helps avoid injury or matting on the tail. Hmmmmmm; how do wolves get by with those long tails in the forests and deserts? Foxes have amazingly long tails; in fact I think all wild canids have long tails.
Watching dogs interact with other dogs and humans you see their tail in constant use. You can clearly see dogs using their tails in life from day to day. Speaking of balance, dogs use their tail continually for balance when running, walking, swimming and jumping. Having it shortened or removed completely only handicaps a dogs movement ability.
Watching Elsa move around it is clear just how much dogs use their tails. Not only for balance in movement but for speaking. Elsa's tail is far more obvious than Tilley's or Luke's making it much easier to read the signs. Her tail is more extreme because of the length and makes it far more useful when speaking to other dogs. As a behavior specialist; it is clear why we should not remove tails.
Several years ago Tilley had a severe wound on her tail; the vet opted quickly to amputate. Not only was Tilley 11 at the time which would have made the surgery extremely difficult and painful but she would have been missing her tail. I would not allow the amputation and with around the clock nursing she healed and is very happy I'm sure to still have her tail.
An amazing study was done at the University of Victoria on the subject of tail length. It is a very interesting read.
There are many of you out growing angry as you read this. It is not meant to point fingers or name names; it is hopefully a read that will get you thinking, pondering. So many things from the past have been abolished, phased out or drastically changed. After all, we know far more now than we did way back then, don't we?