Interpreting Dogs Through Their Tail

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto

Ever wonder what your pooch is trying to tell you? Turns out, a dog’s wagging tail mirrors the animal’s emotions. By interpreting these subtle signs, you can tell what your dog’s mood, disposition, and feelings are! Get to know your beloved pet by interpreting their tail wags:

Stiff Tail, Tense Body

If the dog’s tail is stiff, held in a C-curve and his body is tense, this could mean that the dog is on high alert. But do note that a curved tail doesn’t mean the animal is tensed or anxious. Sometimes a curved tail could indicate a relaxed state of mind among dogs. The key is to check how tight the curve of the tail is. The general rule of thumb is the tighter the curve, the more tensed the dog is. If the dog’s tail is curved, approach with caution. Wait until the dog has settled down and relax before engaging your pet. A tensed dog probably saw something that has shaken or excited him, such as other dogs, squirrels or cats.

Stiff Wagging Tail

Contrary to popular belief, a wagging tail is not always an invitation for cuddles. An aggressive dog could exhibit tight, high tail that is moving back and forth slowly. But beware, look for subtle signs of aggression because the animal could pounce on you if you come closer to quickly.

Lower Body Tail Wagging

A friendly dog’s tail wagging is very easy to interpret. The entire body of the animal is positively vibrating with happiness! If the tail is wagging quickly together in tune with his lower body, then it is a sure sign that Fido wants to play! The same thing goes if your pooch is wiggling his butt. Other signs that the dog is friendly include an open mouth, squinting eyes, and a slightly lowered body. An overexcited dog will even knock you down or lick your face.

Lowered Tail

A lowered tail means a lot of things. It could show that the dog is completely relaxed. If the dog’s tail is tucked between his back legs, it could mean that the animal is sad or avoiding other dogs from sniffing his butt. Female dogs will try to clamp down their tail to avoid male dogs from mounting them. If your dog’s tail suddenly clamps down between his or her legs at the sight of other dogs, lead him away from the other animal until he is ready to make friends.

A droopy tail may also be a sign of fear and anxiety. For instance, if a dog is afraid of a thunderstorm, his tail will droop to his rear end. If your dog’s tail is droopy and it is scared, comfort your pet but give him enough space.

Raised Tail

If the dog’s tail is raised and it is not wagging, it means the dog is on high alert. Other subtle signs that point to an agitated dog are the ears and eyes. If the ears are up and the eyes are focused on something, it means the animal is watching carefully and is ready to confront whatever it is that agitated the animal. If the dog’s body is arched, it means the animal saw a rival dog and is marking his territory.

Tail Stops Wagging

If a dog’s tail suddenly stops wagging and it freezes in its position, it means the animal wants to divert a threat without being aggressive about it. This behavior is common among dogs who are being petted by strangers. It means the dog does not want to communicate or interact with those who are trying to invade their space.