Dog’s Tail Wag – What Does It Mean?

dog's tail wag

Photo provided by Ian Paterson / Supersonic Wag / CC BY-SA 2.0

A dog’s tail wag tells us a lot about what they are feeling.  We just need to know how to interpret what they are telling us.  Remember, just because a dog is wagging his tail it doesn’t mean he is happy.

What Does The Position Of A Dog’s Tail Mean?

The way a dog is holding their tail tells us a lot about what they are currently feeling.  If the tail is held:

lowered – he is showing submission

between the legs – he is scared

straight out – assessing the situation and hasn’t made up his mind about the situation yet

slightly raised and wagging – he is happy
high and wagging – alert but happy and also displaying some dominance

straight up and still – he is alert and exhibiting his desire to dominate.  The higher the tail is held the greater the threat.

dog's tail wag


What Does The Speed Of A Dog’s Tail Wag Mean?

The speed of a dog’s tail adds further meaning to how he is feeling.

Very fast but vertical – a sign of dominance and aggression

slight wagging – this usually indicated that the dog is unsure about the new dog or person he has just met

fast and free, often accompanied by bum wiggling – this is a sign that he wants to be friends

so fast that it’s a blur – a very excited dog

What Does The Direction Of A Dog’s Tail Wag Mean?

The direction of the dog’s tail wag can also tell a story which researchers found affected other dogs observing the tail wag.

wag to the right – he is confident and happy

wag to the left – insecure or frightened

Always remember, before approaching a dog that you don’t know, that it is important to ask the owner if it’s ok to approach him.

You might also like to read about doggy dreams.

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See our range of pet mugs with different breeds and quirky quotes and, of course, dogs’ tails. Here are just a couple of examples.

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