Dog Tail Language – What Your Dog’s Tail Can Tell

Dog Tail Language - What Your Dog’s Tail Can Tell

Dog Tail Language – What Your Dog’s Tail Can Tell

Dogs communicate a lot with their body language. Their tails are one of the ways they communicate themselves and what they're feeling or thinking. With just one wag – or lack thereof – they may transmit a wide range of emotions. The following are the many signs and their meanings:


When a dog is happy, his tail is likely to be happy as well. And you'll see it in their tail by their confident attitude. While it's important for your dog to be confident, you should keep an eye out for domineering tendencies like intimidation.

Straight To The Point

If your dog's tail is hanging straight out behind them, it's a sign that they're concerned about something. When your dog feels unsure about a new person or hears a strange noise that they aren't acquainted with, they may assume this attitude. Allow your dog some room to think things out whenever you see them in this posture. If you're outdoors with your dog and their tail starts to do this, grip their leash to prevent them from bolting or reacting negatively.



When a dog's tail wags gently, it might indicate a variety of things. The first might indicate that they're offering their permission to something or someone new with trepidation. If they're meeting a new dog, it might indicate that they're undecided about whether to accept the beta or alpha position. If this is the case, take them out of the setting until their tail completely begins to wag.

Wags That Are Active

The most evident is this one. A happy dog has a wagging tail that is actively wagging. And, to be more precise, they're delighted to see you. It's always reassuring to know that your dog enjoys your company.

Straightening Your Spine

Straightening Your Spine

When your dog's tail rises up like this, they're normally expressing their displeasure. This might indicate that they're going to respond to whatever it is that's bothering them. If you see this behaviour, limit your dog's leash or confine them to a kennel until they calm down.

The Space Between Their Legs

When a dog is terrified or unhappy, he or she will bury his or her tail between his or her legs. This might be a posture they adopt after they've done something wrong, such as peeing in the home and are embarrassed. They may also place their tail between their legs if they've been chastised. When dogs are afraid of anything, they will also take this stance. If this is the case, just tell them that everything will be OK.

Floppy And Relaxed

This is the ultimate indication that your dog is pleased and content. They are content with their environment and feel appreciated. This is how we want our pets to appear all of the time as loving pet owners.

Down The Rabbit Hole

Down The Rabbit Hole

If they have their tail down and their head down, it might mean they're depressed or submissive. This is a “beta” position, therefore it might be them letting you know they recognize you as the pack leader.

Dog body language consists of a variety of distinct strategies for expressing emotions and intentions. It may vary significantly on how people communicate.

Barks, whines, and growls make up a large part of canine communication, therefore it's crucial to understand what they imply. Dogs, on the other hand, often depend on nonverbal body language. This may lead to a lot of miscommunication between humans and dogs.

Dog body language might be confusing at times (after all, humans don't have tails). In other instances, it's the polar opposite of what that same signal indicates to a person, such as yawning or turning away. Learn how to understand dog body language to better connect with your canine partner.

Wagging Tails

Wagging Tails

Tail wagging seems to be a clear body language indication. Isn't it true that a dog's tail wags when it's happy? Wrong. This signal is often misinterpreted.

A wagging tail simply indicates that the dog is emotionally stimulated. It may be joy, but it could also be an annoyance or worse. Examine the pace and direction of the wag, as well as the posture of the tail, to deduce the dog's emotions and intentions.

The quicker the wag, the more excited the dog is. Consider those long, leisurely, side-to-side tail sweeps your dog does when he greets you — the ones where the dog's whole body wags. That's one happy puppy. A greater degree of alertness, maybe in a negative aspect, is indicated by a quicker twitch-like wag. Consider a guard dog on high alert.

The wag's direction may also reveal anything. According to new research on tail-wagging, dogs wag their tails more to the right when they are happy about something, such as socializing with their owner. When dogs are confronted with an unfavourable situation, their tails wag more to the left.

There's also the helicopter tail wag, which involves the dog's tail spinning in a circle. That is, without a doubt, a joyful wag. It's most often seen when a dog greets a loved one. Finally, the dog's tail posture in relation to the ground reveals crucial information about their mental condition.

In essence, the longer the tail, the more forceful the dog is. Fear and concern are shown by dogs with their tails pointed down to the ground or even tucked between their knees. Dogs that display their tails as if they were a flag are confident, if not aggressive.

Dogs with relaxed tails maintain a neutral posture, although neutral varies by breed. Some breeds, such as Chow Chows, have natural curling tails, whilst others, such as the Italian Greyhound, have a very low neutral tail posture. You'll be able to identify when your dog's emotions have switched if you learn to distinguish their neutral tail posture.

Hackles Raised

When a dog's hackles come up, it signifies their back hair is sticking up. The fur may puff out over the shoulders, down the back, and all the way to the tail, a condition known as piloerection. This is a clear indication that the dog is excited, albeit not necessarily in a bad manner. The dog might be sad or worried, but he or she could also be enthusiastic or engrossed in something. It's typically an uncontrollable response, similar to when individuals get goosebumps.



The weight distribution of a dog may reveal a lot about its attitude and purpose. Consider a dog that is stooped over and pawing at the ground. This is a symptom of anxiety or stress. The dog's position makes him look smaller as if he's attempting to run away from something.

To put it another way, it says, “I don't intend any damage.” A dog that turns onto its back, displaying its belly, is at the extremity of this stance. This may seem to be a dog asking for a belly massage, and it frequently is in a calm dog. However, it might be an indication of significant stress and worry.

In order to pacify the dog, he may even urinate a bit. A dog with his or her weight moved forward is in the opposite position. This dog is attempting to approach something. This might just be a sign of the dog's curiosity. However, when combined with other hostile body language indicators like a twitching tail held high, it might imply offensive intentions. The dog is attempting to seem bigger in this scenario.

The play bow is an easy-to-read element of dog body language. When a dog does this, its chest is on the ground and its rump is in the air. It's used to start playing with other dogs and even humans, as the name indicates. The paw rise is a less well-understood signal.

The paw rise is part of pointing behaviour in pointing breeds like the English Setter, where the dog identifies close to prey. A raised paw, on the other hand, frequently signals that a dog is unsure of a situation or is feeling uneasy.

Expressions On The Face

Expressions On The Face

Dogs have facial characteristics that are comparable to those of humans, but they do not utilize them in the same manner. Consider the act of yawning. Dogs yawn when they're agitated, whereas people yawn when they're sleepy or bored.

Dogs utilize yawning to relax in difficult circumstances and to soothe others, including their masters, according to Turid Rugaas, author of On Talking Terms With Dogs: Calming Signals.

She recommends yawning at your dog to bring comfort during stressful situations such as a doctor's appointment. However, don't be shocked if your dog yawns in response. Yawns are contagious in dogs, just as they are in humans. Lip-licking is another example of canine body language that is often misunderstood by humans.

Dogs, like humans, will lick their lips after a tasty meal, but they will also do so when they are nervous. It's often difficult to detect the tongue flick since it happens so quickly. Your dog is expressing dissatisfaction with a situation, not a desire to lick your face.

Smiling is the most perplexing facial expression. Yes, some dogs grin, which might be frightening if you're unfamiliar with the emotion. When dogs display their fangs, it's usually to warn others, as if they're saying, “Look at my weapons.” It's difficult to misinterpret a snarl's hostile meaning, particularly when it's accompanied by a threatening growl.

The dog's front teeth are completely visible and the corners of his lips make a C shape. Smiling dogs show their front teeth as well, but the intention is completely different. This face, sometimes known as a subservient smile, is often seen on a joyful dog with a relaxed and wiggly posture. “Hello, I come in peace,” the dog's general attitude suggests.



Looking into your dog's eyes might reveal a lot about his or her internal condition. The eyes of a dog might be soft or steely. The dog's soft eyes have loosened lids and seem to be squinting at times. They imply that the dog is relaxed or content. Hard eyes, on the other hand, seem to become frigid.

These are signs of a bad mindset, and you'll recognize them when you see them. The dog might be protecting a toy or acting aggressively. A hard gaze, in which the dog stares intensely at something for an extended period of time, typically indicates a danger.

For dogs, eye contact is a crucial indication. Looking away is supposed to settle a situation, just as a hard gaze may be a forerunner to hostility. When dogs are anxious, they may avert their gaze and avoid making eye contact. People often misinterpret this as their dog ignoring them or being defiant, although the dog is only expressing discomfort.

Another important sign is the whites of the eyes. When a dog reveals the whites of its eyes, it's known as the “whale eye,” and it means they're uncomfortable or agitated in a scenario. They may appear when you make your dog feel uneasy, such as when you stroke him on the head, or when they are scared someone may take a bone or toy.

How To Read A Dog's Body Language

How To Read A Dog's Body Language

None of these dog body language cues have any effect on their own. They're all a bundle deal. When reading a dog's communication, pay attention to every indication the dog uses, from tail height to eye form.

Your dog is always “talking” to you. You will create a stronger sense of trust and respect with your dog if you learn what he or she is saying.

Furthermore, your improved knowledge of your dog's emotional condition will aid you in anticipating his behaviour and preventing issues before they arise.

What Does It Signify When A Dog's Tail Wags?

What Does It Signify When A Dog's Tail Wags?

Is your dog wagging his tail to show you that he's happy? Certainly not! Canines understand a variety of “tail wag” expressions, each of which denotes a distinct meaning. In fact, in the canine world, a wag of the tail is one of the most effective ways of communicating.

Dogs, like human children, must learn to communicate. Wagging tails aren't understood by puppies in the same way that words aren't understood by newborn babies. When a puppy is around a month old, however, he realizes the need of communicating with his mother and siblings, so he learns the language. The puppy wags his tail to indicate to his littermates that he is wary of playing or that he is hungry for his mother.

Why Do Dogs Communicate By Wagging Their Tails?

People are excellent listeners because words are the foundation of human communication. Dogs, on the other hand, are people who keep an eye on things. Dogs transmit wider meanings via body language since they lack a vocal vocabulary.

They do so by adopting a specific attitude, adjusting their ears, furrowing their brows, changing their gaze, or shaking their tails. Dogs respond greatly to tail wagging. Dogs can easily distinguish between distinct tail wags because their eyesight is focused on movement rather than colours or features.

Evolution has also aided in the development of more noticeable tails. Some tails have different colour variations, including dark or light ends, lighter undersides, and bushier tails. All of these characteristics amplify the tail wag and improve communication.

What Are The Messages Sent By A Wagging Tail?

What Are The Messages Sent By A Wagging Tail?

We must first comprehend that the neutral or natural posture of a dog's tail differs by breed before we can learn to say “tail.” When most dogs are comfortable, their tails drop down around their heels. However, certain dogs, such as Beagles, hold their tails vertically.

Greyhounds and Whippets, for example, curl their tails beneath their stomachs. Pugs and Boston Terriers, for example, have tails that coil firmly against the body and do not wag at all.

The Location Of The Tail Might Indicate

Preparedness or agitation, that is the question. When dogs are alert, they lift their tails and stand with their ears elevated. This stance implies that they are paying attention and are prepared to tackle whatever has piqued their interest.

Negotiation: When a dog abruptly stops wagging his tail and freezes, it might indicate that he is attempting to deflect a danger without becoming hostile. When strangers pat them, many dogs do this to show that they don't want to engage with them.

Aggression: When a dog's tail goes from a neutral to a vertical posture or arches over the back, it's a sign that the dog is potentially violent. The bigger the danger, the longer the tail. The aggressive dog's fragrance is released more from the anal glands in this high tail posture, proclaiming his approach and establishing his territory.

Submissive: When a dog's tail moves from its neutral posture to a lower one, it indicates that the dog is submissive and not a danger. The dog gets worried if its tail is tucked securely between its back legs. He detects a danger and requests that he not be hurt. The dog's lower tail posture decreases the quantity of smell released by the anal glands, allowing it to blend in or fly under the radar.

Curiosity: When a dog is interested in anything, she stands with her tail straight out in front of her in a horizontal stance.

Happiness: When a dog is pleased, he waggles his tail and retains it in a neutral or slightly higher posture.

Conclusion To The Dog Tail Language - What Your Dog’s Tail Can Tell


As you can see in this article, the dog's tail can tell lots of stories. They cannot talk but communicate with their body language and especially their tail.

I trust you enjoyed this article on the Dog Tail Language – What Your Dog’s Tail Can Tell? Please stay tuned for more blog posts to come shortly. Take care!




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