For those of you who show….
What do you do if your dog's tail curls on the right side? Eli's has a beautiful tight curl, just on the non-show side. If you switch it over it doesn't curl as well. Can you "retrain" it to curl on the other side or should it just left alone?
What you can and can't do with the tail itself depends on the bones and flexibility of that particular dog. Some dogs have such a tight curl that you can break the bones in the tail trying to straighten it or force it into a position it is not supposed to be in. A dog with a looser tail can often be curled on either side but will normally look better on one side or the other. In puppies with a looser curl and a flexible tailset (where the tail joins the body) you can "train" the tail to accept laying on the show side. Gently put the tail on the show side often but use caution that you don't make the pup "goose" when you touch it there as that can cause problems later on when the judge puts his hands in that area. Bear in mind that as a pup ages he will usually lose some flexibility at the tailset. The tail will naturally want to go either to the dog's left or right or sometimes in the middle. A tail that is set in the middle can usually look nice on either side. If the tail points slightly to the off side, you can sometimes curl it to the show side. Training the tail from early on helps keep it from "feeling weird" to the dog and they are less inclined to move it back to the other side. If the tail is strongly set to the off side, just accept it. You want the tail to look its best and it looks best on the off side, that's fine. Its really not that important in the long run.