What Does It Mean When Dogs Wag Their Tails? Written by: Sheraton Luxuries
The sight of a dog with a wagging tail is adorable. The meaning behind the common canine movement, however, isn't always obvious to human beings. If you want to be fully in tune with your sweet pet's body language, then it can be helpful to learn about all of the things that tail wagging can signify.
Can a Wagging Tail Signify Joy?
It's not at all uncommon for people to assume that tail wagging is a sign of contentment in dogs. The truth is that it often is. If your pooch feels joyful and at ease, don't be surprised if you start noticing his tail moving. How can you tell that tail wagging is a positive thing in dogs? If your pet is wagging his tail due to joy, then the appendage may be in a position that's a tad vertical. His tail will seem "loose" rather than stiff. Dogs that are in good spirits often wag their tails in marked circles as well, according to Brittany Grenus, DVM.
If a dog feels particularly good, his wagging may increase in speed noticeably. You may notice your delighted pet wagging his tail in conjunction with his body in general.
Can Wagging Be a Sign of Tranquility?
A wagging tail can sometimes point to feelings of pure tranquility. It can mean that your dog is the polar opposite of anxious and uncertain. If your pet is in her comfort zone at home in the company of the members of your household, then she may start wagging her tail in a conspicuous manner. Pay close attention to your dog's posture. If it's loose rather than rigid, then you're looking at a carefree creature that feels as cool as a cucumber and that doesn't have a worry in the world. There's yet another body language clue to consider as well. Concentrate on the overall appearance of the animal's tail. Is it devoid of stress? You may have more proof that your pet is in "vacation mode."
Is Wagging Ever a Sign of Aggression?
So many different things can lead to feelings of aggression in dogs. Some dogs start behaving aggressively when they feel as though others are invading their territories. Some start behaving aggressively any time their owners put leashes on them prior to outdoor play sessions and walks. The list continues. Although aggression varieties abound, one thing ties them all together. If a dog feels aggressive for any reason under the sun, then he may give off body language clues that are pretty universal.
If a dog's wagging is aggressive, his tail may be vertical. He may curve his tail over his back as well. Focus on his tail overall. If it's taken on an oddly rigid appearance, then you're most likely looking at a dog that feels defensive. You may even be looking at a dog that is on the verge of attack. Again, zero in on the speed of the wagging. If it's particularly rapid, then the dog's aggression level is most likely on the high side. The dog is probably pretty irritated.
Since tail wagging can in some situations denote aggression, it's 100 percent critical for people to steer clear of unfamiliar dogs that are engaging in the body language. Tail wagging is often seen in conjunction with other classic aggression "hints" such as the licking of the lips, intense staring, growling, yawning, lunging and ear pinning.
Can Wagging Mean That a Dog Is Curious?
It's no secret that dogs tend to be pretty wide-eyed and inquisitive animals. If you notice a dog wagging her tail in a comparatively subtle manner, then that could mean that she's feeling pretty curious about an item, a scent, an animal or a human being that's in her surroundings. Inquisitive tail wagging is often pretty easy to spot, too. If a dog's wagging is of a curious nature, then she may keep her tail flat and even in the back of her body. It may wag a bit. It may stay completely still as well.
Does a Wagging Tail Mean That a Dog Is Scared?
Dogs sometimes wag their tails when they're afraid of things. A dog may have fear that's part of the aggressive classification. He may have fear that's part of the submissive classification all the same. If your dog is moving his tail and keeps it in the middle of both of his legs, that could signify deference. He may keep his tail closer to the ground at the same time, too. Dogs that wag their tails in this way generally wish to remain under the radar. They want to avoid negative attention and possible attack.
It's crucial to just say no to petting any dogs that seem to be wagging their tails submissively. If you touch a dog that feels submissive, you run the risk of exacerbating the emotion and making the dog feel even more apprehensive. Note that it isn't unusual for submission to become aggression pretty rapidly.
"I Need Some Space"
It can help dog fans greatly to know what tail wagging signifies. It can help them just as much to know what the absence of tail wagging can mean, too. If a dog ceases wagging his tail seemingly out of nowhere, he could be highlighting that he needs some space and doesn't want to be around anyone else for a bit.
Look at his body in its entirety as well. It may become devoid of any and all motions in general. You do not have to connect this body language clue to anything aggressive. It doesn't usually point to a dog that's in that mode. It typically points to a dog that just wants to take a breather from human contact.
It's imperative to resist the temptation to go close to an unfamiliar dog that wants some space. If you risk going close to a dog that simply isn't in the mood to "socialize," then she may start acting in an aggressive way. If you give this kind of dog the opportunity to be solo for a while, she may go back to normal pretty quickly.
Cute video about how to understand your dog body language.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Dog Board!
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