Body Language – The Tail




A wagging tail has many meanings. Sometimes it conveys happiness, but sometimes it can be a sign your dog is deeply uncomfortable. A wagging tail means your dog is engaged. Look at the posture and position to decide if your dog is happy, or on high alert.

A happy wag is usually a big circle, accompanied by a loose, wiggly body.

Most dogs, when on high alert, will hold their tails high and stiff and often show very fast tail movement.

Some dogs may swing their tails very low and slow when they are unsure or nervous. If they have a naturally curly tail, it may uncurl or it may go flat against their hind-end.

Almost all dogs, when very scared, will “tuck their tail” tight against their body, so it goes under and between their legs.

Watch your dog’s tail. When it changes to a high alert, or a low swing, stop what you are doing and notice what they are responding to in the environment.

Tail carriage is a valuable piece of information to help you understand your dog. Learn the differences your dog shows so you can best support your dog.

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