Isn’t it adorable when you enter a room and your dog runs towards you, tail wagging and all? We agree! But did you know that your dog’s tail is an indicator of what they’re trying to tell you? Just like you would keep an eye out for any changes in your dog’s behavior, it is important to be aware of their tail positions as well. Let’s find out how tail position and movement is important and what they could possibly mean.
Different Tail Positions and What They Mean
SLIGHT WAGGING: This means that the dog is in a cautious state but not aggressive. They want to be friends with you but aren’t completely sure about it. The best course of action, in this case, is to wait and let them approach you. Once they know for sure that you don’t mean any harm, the face-licking begins!
FULL BODY WAG: Your dog is very excited! A full-body wag suggests that your dog is very happy and excited to see you and this is their way of showing it.
SHAKY AND VIBRATING: This movement indicates a fight or flight response in your dog. It can be playful or serious. It is important and vital to recognize the difference. If the behavior seems aggressive, try to distract them with some bite-sized or long-lasting treats, this will take their attention away from whatever is causing them stress.
VERTICAL AND FAST: This is a sign that your dog might be feeling threatened and territorial. When a dog wags their tail very fast while holding it vertically, it might be an active threat. So, remember to distract them and not spook them even further. The distraction can be anything from their favorite toy, their favorite treats, or just taking them away from whatever is making them behave that way.
TAIL DOWN: This stance indicates that your dog might be uncomfortable, anxious, or nervous about the current situation. They often wag their tail slightly (very little) to show that they are slowly trying to acclimatize to their environment but the best way to make them feel better is to be extremely patient and keep an eye on them for any major triggers that might lead to changes in behavior.
TAIL TUCKED BETWEEN LEGS: When dogs tuck their tail between their legs it signals submission and fear. A tucked tail in canines is quite similar to hiding their face because it covers the genitals, and interferes with the sniffing behavior that identifies them to other dogs. This is a dog who is trying to avoid other dogs from sniffing their behind or from mounting them.
LEFT WAG AND RIGHT WAG: Dogs that have their tails wagging to the right are more relaxed, while they tend to become more stressed when their tails start wagging to the left. Research also shows that dogs wag their tails to the right when looking at something they want to approach, such as their owner. But they wag their tails to the left when affronted with something they want to back away from, such as another dog with an aggressive posture.
STRAIGHT AND HORIZONTAL: This indicates that your dog is curious about something. The tail wagging will not start again till they feel assured and comfortable about whatever they are curious about. If you feel like this is something that might spook your dog, try to distract them or remove them from that area. Otherwise, just be patient and let them explore at their own pace.
Tail wagging is a very important tool of communication among dogs. You will never see a dog wag its tails when they are alone, only when people or other animals are around. So, make sure to keep an eye on their movements as this will help you understand what they are trying to communicate with you.