Your dog has run to the other side of the dog park to check out another dog from afar. How can you tell what he is feeling from such a distance? His general posture will give you some idea – especially his tail-wagging behavior.  Here are some interesting clues to uncover the true meaning of your dog’s tail wagging.

Mastering the Meaning of Your Dog’s Tail Wagging

Direction of Your Dog’s Tail Wagging

You can tell a lot about a dog’s mood by the direction his tail is wagging. In a study conducted by Giorgio Vallotiagra on the wagging habits of 43 different dog breeds, it was concluded that dogs wag their tails to communicate with one another, too. A dog wagging his tail to the right communicates to other dogs that they stand to make a new friend; tail-wagging to the left seems to convey anxiety to the other dogs.

Alignment of Your Dog’s Tail

Where your dog’s tail is aligned in relation to his spine when wagging his tail speaks volumes about his mood. A tail that’s held higher than the spine is an indication of excitement. If your dog’s tail is lined up with his spine, he’s feeling contented and calm. A tail held below the spine or tucked under is an indication of fear or nervousness.  A dog whose tail is high above his back with only the tip wagging could mean that he is willing to interact but maybe not in a friendly manner. If your dog is displaying this type of body language in the dog park when he sees another dog or stranger, it’s probably time to take him aside and calm him down.  Paying attention to your dog’s tail alignment is a great key to understanding your canine friend’s emotional state.

Speed of Your Dog’s Tail Wagging

Much like a dog’s tail alignment clues you into his mood, the tail speed does as well. A tail that’s being wagged slowly could signal that the dog is happy and calm. A tail that’s wagging rapidly is a sign your dog is excited. The excitement could be from happiness or simply curiosity, so watch for the tail position for the full story. However, if your dog is not moving his tail at all, he may be feeling uncomfortable or in fear. In this case, it’s important to approach your dog slowly and carefully.

Over to You …

Your dog’s tail wagging is but one obvious way he communicates how he is feeling to you and other dogs. Understanding the meaning of your dog’s tail wagging can give you a heads-up on how he may react in certain situations alerting you to act before something unfavorable happens. Have you ever misunderstood a dog’s wagging tail? What were the consequences?

 “The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue.”  ~Anonymous


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