Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Why are dogs so disassociated from their tails?

Asked by Dutchess_III (41904points) November 6th, 2019

I’ve noticed that they don’t seem to understand that their tails are part of their bodies, like it’s some alien entity, sometimes to be dispatched.
This morning Cato was waving his tail and knocking some stuff around on the head board. He turned and looked toward the noise curiously. It was obvious he had no clue that it was his tail that was causing the noise.
Why is that?

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8 Answers

chyna's avatar

For the same reason they turn around to see who farted when it was clearly them.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, what’s the reason @chyna?

ucme's avatar

I was about to say the same as @chyna
Dogs fart & look around as if to say…“what the hell was that, wasn’t me!”

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes. That too. But why?

YARNLADY's avatar

Their ears are pointed forward, so maybe they can’t figure out the direction.

I saw a Facebook video of a dog growling at and biting his own back foot because it was getting too close to his bone. They also don’t seem to notice when they are missing a leg. They just seem to run around like nothing was different.

longgone's avatar

Hm…were you really totally aware of your body parts at the tender age of a few months? This, like most things, has to be learned.

I think older dogs, similar to people, vary wildly in their proprioception. My first dog would never have fallen off a sofa, for example. She treated the edge like an abyss. Another dog I knew once chased a cat up a set of very narrow stairs, managing to place all four (rather large) paws on an area maybe 18×6 inches, and turn up there. Wilson is so relaxed and carefree that he often tumbles right off the couch. And then he looks confused and wags his tail to say that he still thinks the world is a great place.

Brian1946's avatar


What about tail-chasing, which is something I’ve never seen a cat do?

However, I guess some cats do.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My cat does it @Brian1946. I think it has something to do with the associated length of the spine. The nerves aren’t communicating well.

@longgone my Dutchess chased her tail her whole life. One time she actually caught it and yanked herself clean off of her feet! She looked so surprised! I never laughed so hard. :)

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