Why Does Your Dog Wag His Tail And What Does It Really Mean?

By November 29 | See Comments

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Why Does Your Dog Wag His Tail And What Does It Really Mean?

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Like humans, dogs too have a number of complex emotions, not just happy and sad. Humans display their emotions through body language and speech. But how do dogs show them? Through their tails, of course. Dogs communicate with humans and other dogs via their tails. While other dogs can understand this language, humans do not.Many dog owners are unaware of their loyal friend’s emotions and often react with mixed signals. This can lead to a lot of frustration, confusion, sadness, or even heartbreak for the dog. Get this; if your dog wags his tail it does not always mean he’s happy. It is a sign of openness and can mean a number of different things. By wagging his tail, your dog is opening channels of communication between you and him. Therefore, he is engaged with his environment and is able to react to it.Interpreting a dog’s tail wag is complex. You have to include its body language and environment to be able to gauge the right meaning. There are four important factors to consider when reading a dog’s tail.

  1. Height or position – A dog can wag his tail at different heights. If the tail is in a higher, almost vertical position, then it is a display of confidence. This means he can get aggressive and threatening. A medium lift is when he is relaxed and calm. When you see a horizontal tail, that means he is alert and paying attention to his surroundings. If the tail goes lower than his buttocks, it means he is becoming submissive. A tail between his legs, tucked under his body is a sign of helplessness and fear.
  2. Stiffness – The stiffness of a dog’s tail also matters in communication. A gentle, loose wag shows that he is approachable. A stiff and almost fixed wag shows tension or aggression. The broader a wag, the better. It indicates friendliness.
  3. Speed – If you see your dog’s tail vibrating, it means he is up to something (mischief or fight). The vibration combined with the tail in a high position is a threat and you should be wary.
  4. Side – Researchers say that dogs wag their tails on the right when they are happy or positive about their environment and people. They wag their tails on the left when the opposite happens.

The dog’s body language also plays an important role in communication. Eyes, ears, nose, and position of the body are also indicators of your dog’s mood but the tail is a key part of his communication. These factors differ from one dog breed to another. Therefore, as a dog owner you should pay attention to him and his environment before reacting to his emotions.

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