When I first met Timmy, a terrier cross, in a rescue shelter his anxious and extremely nervous behaviour was very prominent. He was in a separate kennel away from other dogs, as any stimulation triggered his sympathetic nervous system. Timmy had no tail. On the days I came to walk him he would charge out of the kennel, pulling me behind him, as soon as he was put on a lead. He would then continue to run around the field in an incoherent manner. It became more and more obvious that he was traumatised by what had happened to his tail. Being a stray dog it was not possible to tell whether Timmy had lost his tale in an accident or if it was removed for aesthetic reasons. The parasympathetic nervous tissue, which is in charge of relaxation and rest, has its seat in the sacrum, just anterior to a dog's tail. Losing his tail seemed to have robbed Timmy of any chance to relax and calm down. Instead Timmy felt chased and hyperactive. Timmy's tale made me think of a procedure called "docking" in which the dog's tail is surgically removed for aesthetic reasons. In disbelief I read that docking puppies up to two weeks of age was a procedure carried out without anesthesia. This is an irreversible practice which can cause a life-long trauma for the dog. Considering that dogs use their tails for communication and balancing purposes, this is also a cause for aggressive behaviour in dogs.
With gentle help such as craniosacral therapy and the Bach Flower remedies, Timmy could learn to re-inhabit the lower part of his spine without fear in order to become calm and relaxed again.