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When (or if?) does a Border Collie's tail usually go down?

 

Blaze is 7 (closer to 8) months old and he still carries his tail high on a regular basis. Will it ever get to the point where he is carring his tail down all the time?

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When (or if?) does a Border Collie's tail usually go down?

 

Blaze is 7 (closer to 8) months old and he still carries his tail high on a regular basis. Will it ever get to the point where he is carring his tail down all the time?

 

I think it varies with each individual dog. Do you mean it curls up on his back like a young puppy - ALL the time or when he is playing? At 7 months, Binx's tail was usually carried low, especially if he is "thinking" or working stock, but when he is playing or happy to greet someone, it still goes up sometimes.

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Hopefully, when he's on stock :rolleyes: Mine all carry their tails up when they are out running and playing, or just out for a stroll and are sniffing around, etc. Or even just walking through the house. But the minute stock are in the picture, down they go. Dottie, who will be 11 weeks Friday, has just now started to put hers down when she is in the pasture and sees the sheep (who are behind a fence so she can't get to them :D ). She puts her tail down and walks toward the fence looking all serious like a big girl. :D Pretty cute, especially when the sheep move away, even though there's a fence between them and she's still 20 feet away!

 

A

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His tail is carried down when he's playing ball, "thinking", working, etc. But while greeting someone, another dog, or just runing around outside, his tail is carried over his back.

 

He looks like he's pointing or something :rolleyes:

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My Border Collies carry their tails down when they are involved in something they consider important. Usually when we play ball the tails are down. Dean's is down when he does Agility (especially at the start line). Speedy's is usually down when we train together. Dean's tail is also down when he plays frisbee.

 

Their tails are up when they have more "perky" and "fun" expressions. When they are teasing me for a game or playing with each other, the tails are up.

 

I didn't really know to pay attention to such things as Speedy matured, but I really started to notice the deliberate tail action with Dean when he was about a year and a half old.

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Lou carries his great big tail pretty darned high when he's happy, and he's a pretty happy dog. The tail also never stops wagging when you talk to him/make eye contact with him/smile at him/acknowledge him through telepathy or similar.

 

Playing with a hose makes his tail do happy spins:

lou_hose.jpg

Watching Wick dig a hole sends his tail into, well, tailspins:

wick_dig.jpg

 

When he is working or concentrating, that tail clamps right down against his back leg.

 

Just for fun - in one of these pics, Lou is staring at the sheep. In the other, he is staring at Wick. Can you tell which stare is which? :rolleyes:

07060702.jpg

11240701.jpg

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Jennifer, like Anna said, the only time it "matters" is when he's on stock.

 

I wouldn't say it doesn't matter. I find it very helpful to "read" what Speedy and Dean are doing with their tails to gauge their moods in certain circumstances. I find I can even tell the difference between the "I'm seriously into this" lowered tail and the "I'm terrified" tail tuck. Of course, I consider the tail in conjunction with their overall body language and the context.

 

Granted, it's not infallible, but I have found it extremely useful at times.

 

That said, it's not a huge deal. But I have definitely gleaned useful information from paying attention to their tails. I miss being able to do that with my mutts. Their tails don't give nearly as much information as the Border Collie tails do.

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I have learned to read my dogs emotions by her tail. Daisy is cross with malamute or something so she has the floofy tight curl when it's up, when it's up this high she is usually watching an intruder (by intruder I mean someone is walking down our street) if it starts wagging slowly she's gonna bark (my cue to distract her very quickly), when her tail is up but not tight, she's usually playing with bf, soliciting play or playing with one of her toys. When we go on walks especailly if we are in one of the parks her tail is down, she's all business on walks and in classes. Her emotions are very visible through her tail! So I guess it all depends on the dog.

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I wouldn't say it doesn't matter.

 

I think what Paula meant is that a tail that doesn't "come down" isn't a big deal. As in, a dog is not somehow less of a border collie if it has a gay tail. Of course what dogs are doing with their tells gives us information, but a dog who never drops its tail is not somehow "defective" (for lack of a better word). FWIW, I have a border collie who carries her tail in an extreme tuck (what some would consider a fear tuck) when she's working. It's just the way she is and doesn't mean anything.

 

Jennife, if it bothers you, you can always teach a command for dropping the tail. I have a friend who had a nice working dog with a "scorpion tail." She taught the dog a "tail" command, which made her lower her tail into a more normal working position. Although a tail up while working generally means a lack of concentration, in some cases, it's just the way the dog is. And your pup is too young to know one way or the other anyway.

 

J.

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That's one reason why they don't remove the tails on border collies!!! When they are on "work mode" their tails "J". It can be on sheep, frisbee, whatever, but play mode goes into all different styles. If you are working sheep and you see your dogs tail go up, you better be on your toes to move in- s/he is going to dive into those sheep.

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Jennife, if it bothers you, you can always teach a command for dropping the tail. I have a friend who had a nice working dog with a "scorpion tail." She taught the dog a "tail" command, which made her lower her tail into a more normal working position. Although a tail up while working generally means a lack of concentration, in some cases, it's just the way the dog is. And your pup is too young to know one way or the other anyway.

 

J.

 

Oh, no, no it doesn't bother me at all! I hope it didn't come across that way in my first post. :rolleyes:

 

It does make me "LOL" most the time when I see him like it.

 

Woo's tail is gorgeous! Reminds me of my Lizzie's tail. :D

 

I have learned to read my dogs emotions by her tail.

 

Most definitely agree here. The tail is something I look at often with Blaze to read him before he might do something.

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Bess only 'flags' her tail when she is trotting through the house carrying a toy someplace to 'bury'. She's a pretty serious young lass and usually holds her tail nicely curved matching her back legs. I can tell in vewry low light whether she is taking a poo or pee though by how she holds her tail then... straight out is full stop here folks, serious business going on, and out for halfway and then curved up is just like someone holding up a finger saying 'just a second here...'I wouldn't be able to tell if she had done all her chores though in the dark without the white tail tip.

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:rolleyes: I love Mr. Woo's tail too, and his crazy expressions.

 

Odin's tail is gay when he's playing/fetching. I love this little s-curve he puts in the tip, looks like a little flag.

 

2871170822_92b38e9af0.jpg

 

(BTW - isn't our dog park cool??? It has agility equipment!)

 

But the most useful his tail has been to me is gauging the cat-dog dynamic. I watch Benway's tail too. I can tell when a play session is heading towards sibling-snarking stage if Odin raises his tail too much or if Benway's starts swishing like there's biting flies on him.

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