Pretty Pets Kennel



Understanding Your Dog’s Body Language: What’s Your Dog’s Tail Language?

Have you noticed your dog’s tail whenever you interact with them? From wagging fast when greeting you once you get home to drooping it between the legs when they’ve done something they shouldn’t. When it comes to understanding our furry companions, paying attention to their body language is crucial. Our dogs are very animated creatures that behave and respond in different ways whether it’s towards you, other people, other animals, or in the environment they’re in. Understanding how they behave is important to strengthen your bond and know how to take care of your pet properly. 

 Among the various body parts that can convey how they feel that holds valuable information is by observing a dog’s tail. It is a particularly important indicator of their mood and intentions. 

However, while it is important to observe a dog’s tail language, it is equally important to consider their overall body language and the situation at hand. Factors such as ear position and movement, body posture, vocal response, and facial expressions provide valuable clues to understanding a dog’s emotional state and intentions. Additionally, individual dogs may have unique tail language variations.

In this article, we will discover a fascinating way of how a dog’s tail speaks a language of its own learn how to interpret the messages our dogs convey through their tail movements. Let’s delve into how our dogs communicate using their tails!

Why Does a Dog Wag Its Tail?

A dog’s tail is an important part of their body that serves its purpose of helping them balance the weight of their body, especially towards the front of their body when they run and keeps them upright when they make sudden movements or turns. This was commonly observed among hunting dogs. 

Now, for domesticated household dogs, their tails are a blatant way to communicate to the world. Aside from their body positions, it’s their way of expressing themselves if they don’t bark or howl. It’s also a way for them to spread unique pheromones to other animals as a way to communicate. 

Dogs learn to use their tails to communicate in their puppy days. It’s a learned behaviour that dogs adapt and acquire from other dogs as they grow older. 

Non-Movement Dog Tail Positions 

1. Half-mast or Mid-Height Position

A dog with a tail that’s held almost upright while they’re standing can indicate that they are attentive and listening. It usually indicates a calm, lesser aroused state, where they assess the situation and listen carefully. They usually look focused on what captured their attention and sometimes the tail moves slowly or fast depending on the situation. 

2. Horizontal and Motionless

A dog with a limp, non-wagging tail that’s dropped down behind them while standing indicates that they are feeling relaxed, comfortable, and at ease. To accompany this, their facial expressions, ears, and overall posture is relaxed and not tense. It could also mean that they are ready to play if you are up to it. Sometimes, their mouth is slightly open and looks like they’re smiling to indicate that they are casually content. 

3. Tucked Low Between The Legs

When a dog’s tail goes down and stays in between their legs, it means that they’re not feeling comfortable in the situation they’re in. Dogs with tails close to their body signifies fear, anxiety, or submission. It is their response to feeling threatened or intimidated. 

4. Upright and Non-wagging

A dog’s tail that goes upright and non-moving can signify that they are alerted and aroused. Depending on the situation, it could mean different things. If their body is relaxed, with soft eyes and open mouth, which then leads to wriggling and fast wagging – it means, they’re excited and happy. If it’s stiff, coupled with hardened eyes, a mouth pulled into a snarl with their head held up and sometimes with a slow move of their tale, it means they’re signaling caution and to back off, and may display actions of aggression. 

Different Dog Tail Movements 

1. Fast High Wagging with Body Movements

A happy, energetic, and excited dog moves it’s tail in a fast-motion that it’s almost a blur – they’re experiencing strong emotions that their body moves along with them while they wag their tales. It’s usually seen when owners come home and and they greet you or when they know they’re about to go on a walk with you. 

2. Upright and Fast, Shaky Wagging

On the other hand, if a dog’s tail is positioned upwards and moves in a fast, shaky way. This shows a sign of tension and hostility that can also be visibly seen with your dog’s body language. When this happens, the dog can pounce in response, so make sure to avoid it. 

3. Slow and Low Wag

A slow, measured wag positioned low accompanied by a tense posture and lowered body can indicate caution, anxiety, uncertainty, or even fear. It is important to approach a dog displaying this tail movement with care and respect their boundaries. They may be uncomfortable and are telling you to go away. 

4. Slow Deliberate Wag

The slow, deliberate wag that comes with your dog walking is a sign of them contemplating their next move in response to you, their surroundings, or towards animals. This movement accompanied by their body movement and overall tension can be see if they regard you with caution and is not open to be approached. It could also indicate that your dog is feeling upset, pensive, and serious. Other times, it could also mean they may not be feeling well. 

5. Left Wag and Right Wag

One of the most interesting complex discoveries about dogs communicating with their tail is the meaning behind their left wagging and right wagging. There have been recent studies on dog behaviours that revealed that the direction in where your dog sways its tail towards is an indication of its general feelings towards their subject. If their tails tend to wag to the right, it means that they are happy, content, and friendly – which they tend to act when they’re comfortable, commonly towards their owners. On the other hand if their tail moves to the left, it indicates that they are cautious, fearful, or unsure in response to uncomfortable situations. 


Decoding your dog’s tail language is a valuable skill that can enhance your understanding of their emotions and intentions. By paying attention to the position, movement, and overall demeanor of their tail, you can strengthen your bond and communication with your canine companion. Remember to consider tail language within the context of their overall body language for better understanding of how you should act and respond to your pet.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Open chat
Hi, Thank you for your inquiry to Pretty Pets Kennel ! How can we assist you?