How does my dog communicate with his tail?
Unfortunately, and this is one of their only faults, our pooches can't talk to us. As dog parents we have to rely on their barking, their body language... and their tails! And yes, your dog communicates all day long by the position of its tail!
If your dog's tail position is high or low, it can indicate different emotions your dog is feeling. And what does it mean if your doggie's tail wags? It all depends on the speed and position again!
Today, we're going to look at the meaning of each position of a dog's tail, as well as the meaning of a dog's tail wagging!
What do my dog's tail movements mean?
1/ Dog tail position: Low, but away from the body
When your dog carries his tail low, but away from his hind legs, it means he is relaxed and feeling good. This is the position we pet parents want to see most of the time, especially when they are at home. This position can also indicate that your dog is tired and wants to sleep, so maybe it's time for your dog to go to sleep!
2/ Tail position: Carried high, slanted upwards
This position means your dog is feeling confident, dominant and in control, or trying to make it look that way, depending on your dog's temperament and the situation.
3/ Tail position: Carried high, slightly curved over the back.
This time, your dog feels like the leader of the dogs and is very confident. Obviously, if your dog's tail is naturally curled, as in pugs or some shibas, this may not be the case, but if his tail is normally straight, you can be sure that he feels on the attack!
4/ Position of the dog's tail: horizontal (not stiff)
Your dog is very attentive to his environment: he is very focused on what is happening around him. This can mean one of two things: either he is getting ready because he senses danger, or he is simply very curious about a new toy or visitor!
5/ Position of the dog's tail: Horizontal (stiff)
When the tail stiffens horizontally, it means that your dog is being cautious. There may be a new visitor he is not sure about or an unfamiliar dog near him. Your dog is waiting to see what happens next... Be careful when you see your dog in this position, be careful too.
6/ Position of the dog's tail: Lying still and fairly close to the body
If the tail is not tucked under the body and is not quite touching the hind legs, but is close to them, it may mean that your dog is feeling insecure, uncomfortable and perhaps a little weak. If you see him in this state, you should reassure him, comfort him and keep him calm. If you continue to force the situation that caused the tail position (a new environment or person) on him, things could get out of hand, so try to calm him down and be careful.
7/ Tail position: Folded between the legs
No dog parent wants to see this position: it means your dog is afraid of being hurt. Dogs adopt this position when they are afraid of punishment, cruelty, a loud noise or when they are in the presence of something that frightens them. They need lots of reassurance and love when this happens: reassuring sounds and cuddles. They feel incredibly vulnerable and need their parents more than ever.
8/ Tail position of the dog: Raised, and wagging slowly
This tail position is often accompanied by a tilted head and pricked ears, as it means he is confused. He is not worried, he is just trying to understand a command, what you are saying or a new food.
9/ Tail position: Wags quickly
This is a happy dog! Maybe his parents have just come home, or he wants to be noticed because he has done a trick!
10/ Dog's tail position: Wags quickly
Your little goofball is excited! This usually happens after petting, before a meal or if you've just said or made a noise that reminds him it's time to go out!
Tail position: Is my dog sick?
Sometimes the position of our dog's tail can tell us a lot about the physical and mental health of your dog. If his tail stays down for a while, he may be feeling tired or ill. If this is accompanied by severe lethargy, vomiting, diarrhoea or stiffness in the joints, he should definitely be examined by the vet.
If he hasn't moved his tail for a while, this could be a sign of a fracture or break, so make sure he sees a vet if that's what you suspect.
This guide will help you to better understand your furry friend, but it should be noted that the above mentioned dog tail positions and their translations are not universal. Every dog is different and only you, as a parent, will know the true meaning of your dog's tail position. Although we cannot communicate with our dogs as we do with humans, learning how our dogs express their emotions is an essential part of being a responsible and loving parent. It can only strengthen our bond with them and improve our understanding of their unique personalities.