Wagging tips and tales of what a dog’s tail tell us

what does a dogs tail mean

The easiest way to put a smile on a human’s face is to start wagging your tail. Helicopter wags, body wags, and swinging wags will usually get your peep all excited and you’ll probably get a little pat for just showing how excited you are. It’s what a dog’s tail tell us that’s so fun to learn as it helps you to understand us.

Our tail is just a natural extension of us, it expresses how we feel. In fact you can think of our tails like your mouth. People express themselves all the time with their mouth, ever had a smile on your face and you didn’t even realize it? Well it’s the same with us dogs, we are not always in control of our tails, they give away our inner emotions.

Every dog’s tail is unique they can be long, furry, skinny, stumpy, curly and nubby to name just a few shapes and sizes. However even the tiniest pug tail will still wiggle when he’s happy.

Why do dogs have tails?…A dog’s tail is an extension of the spine. It helps them to keep balance when they run. It’s used as a rudder when they swim. Bushy-tailed dogs use their tails to keep their noses warm. Moreover, A dog’s tail position and motion is incorporated as a component of a complex system of body language that domestic dogs use to show excitement or agitation.

What a dog’s tail tell us…It’s all in the Wag

why do dogs wag their tail1.Tail moving freely in wide sweeping arcs and slightly up: This is your typical classic wag. We’re telling you that we are welcoming and are happy. When we are walking and wagging we’re saying we are pleased and happy at the moment. You will see this wag…

  • When we greet you when you arrive home
  • We spot a friend on our walk
  • We are having fun playing
2. Casual tail, neither up or down, and has a slight dog with a straight tailmovement: I call this the neutral tail. We dogs are just not engaged with anything in particular, and basically just checking out the scene. You’ll see this tail move…

  • On our usual walks.
  • Hanging out at home
  • Standing in the dog park and viewing the surroundings


how to tell that my dog is scared3.Tail tucked in, all the way and between the back of my legs: I’m feeling very uncomfortable with my situation, I could even be fearful about something around me. You will see this tail…

  • Maybe at bath time
  • When I just stole the Sunday roast and got caught
  • On the way to the vet
  • A big scary dog is barking at me
  • The sounds of thunder or fireworks


4. My tail is up but I’m holding it still: I’m ready to act and launch into an activity. I’m alert and feel ready to engage. what does it mean to keep a dog tails stillYou see my tail at attention when…

  • I’m checking out other dogs to play with
  • ready to catch that ball that your going to throw
  • ready to start my agility run

defensive dog tail5My tail is relatively high, and I’m moving it from side to side in short little was and kinda stiffly: Some people call it “flagging” Okay, I’m not happy, and if you look at my body signs such as hair up, ears back you should consider this a warning. I’m saying stay away. You may see me wag this way when

  • I’m guarding my treat from another dog or maybe even from you
  • I’m feeling a little defensive
  • There’s a cat in the way and won’t move
  • There’s someone at the door and I don’t know who it is

What’s your favorite dog wag?