Why Does Your Dog Wag His Tail?

Do you think that when you see a dog is wagging its tail it is always friendly? Think again.

A dog’s tail is used for balance especially making turns while running or swimming. The tail is also used to balance the dog while climbing, leaping and walking through narrow structure.

As dogs cannot talk, they use their bodies to communicate and that includes their tails.

So here are the basics in the position of your dog’s tail:

Natural position

Now you should be aware the natural position of your dog’s tail. Some dogs have tails naturally curl up above their backs. Other dogs have tails that hang down behind their legs. So if your pet’s tail is in its natural position, then your dog is happy.

The Tail Is Up

When your dog’s tail is higher than normal, it is giving a signal that is is dominant. Unmoving tail held in high stiffness is communicating tension or hostility. Never go near a dog when you see the tail in this position.

The Tail Is Down

A dog’s tail that is down means submission or nervousness. More so if it hides the tail in between the legs.

A Tail Moving Side-To-Side

If a dog moves the tail side to side, observe where the tail is moving strongly. Tails moving more to the dog’s right means positive emotions – can be excitement or friendly curiosity. Tails moving more to the dog’s left is showing negative emotions – anxiety or aggression.

This is because the left side of the brain in humans and dogs alike deals with the positive behavior while the right side deals with negative behavior. And as the brain controls opposite sides of the body, the exhibition is opposite.

Right brain, negative behavior, tail moving more to the left. Left brain, positive behavior, tail wagging more to the right.

Wagging Speed Is Also Key

You also have to see how fast the tail wagging is. If the tail is down and wagging fast to the right, the dog is submitting to you. When you see the dog is wagging its tail and also including its body, then the dog is very happy to see you.

If the tail is up and wagging fast to the left, avoid the dog.

A dog slowly wagging its tail no matter the position – up or down – shows a calm dog. This dog is also curious about you and wants to know you better.

Learn more about dog behavior at Makati Dog and Cat Hospital



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