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Weird & Wacky

The Science Behind the Wet-Dog Shake (With Slow-Motion Video!)

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Who doesn’t love when a dog comes strutting out of the water, jogs right up next to you, and then shakes like crazy, showering you and anyone within a few feet radius with zillions of droplets of water?


As it turns out, your generous dog’s attempt to share his watery wealth is actually an impressive act, one which engineers and scientists have studied for years! In fact, it is believed that by studying the mechanics of the wet-dog shake, we could someday invent new self-drying machinery, or more efficient clothes dryers.


In just 4-seconds of the infamous wet-dog shake, your pup can expel about 70% of the water soaked into his fur.

While it looks like your dog is just shaking and whipping his entire body back and forth, turns out it’s really just his skin that’s doing all the moving. During a wet-dog shake, your dog’s backbone moves only a few degrees in each direction, while his skin moves much faster and further – about 90-degrees in each direction, helping to expel all those droplets.


Check out the video below to see the wet-dog shake in action and again in slow-motion, on a series of dogs with different hair types. It’s just one of the many, many traits that make dogs so amazing.

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  4. Avatar Of Nancy Levasseur

    Nancy LeVasseur


    To add to this, the shake starts with the nose. If you ever want to stop the shake, all you have to do is touch the dog’s nose, and the action will be suppressed. I’ve proved this out over and over with our little Shih Tzu. Suppressing the shake gives me time to get out of the way!

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