The Language of Tail Wagging

Sindi Barrios

Is your dog trying to tell you something?

While we don’t consider ourselves fluent in tail wagging, our veterinary experts have got a few clues about what type of wag means what for our dogs. From varying moods and behaviours, the wagging of a tail is actually much more complex than we first thought.

Much like a human, a dog can feel many emotions from happy, excited, sociable and tentative to fearful, anxious and suspicious. It’s important we respect their thoughts and emotions by observing their behaviour and tail wagging signs so can encourage them to feel happier more frequently. An example may include, if a dog doesn’t like socialising with a specific person or dog, to avoid them socialising or even if a dog doesn’t like it when you hoover or use the hairdryer, you can avoid using them around your pet.

The speed of the wag can indicate how much they’re feeling or thinking a certain emotion, along with the height and breadth of the sweep. For example, a fast and broad wag indicates the dog is happy and excited with a relaxed feeling and no worries or anxiety is present in their emotions. You may recognise this when they get a new toy or treat or even when you come through the door or get their lead for a walk. However, slower wags can indicate them feeling less enthusiastic or unsure of the situation. Short but quick wags are sociable and tentative while very small and fast wags could show the dog is alert and ready to run or attack.

While we think it’s pretty special that the position of your canine companions’ tail can reveal a lot about how they’re feeling, we can’t wait to share with you and teach you how to interpret your dog’s thoughts. Share this guide below on your social media or with friends and spread the word of the wag.

We hope this guide has been helpful, but remember all dogs are different with different types of tails and resting positions. For example, a Beagle may have their tail always in the air while a German Shephard has their tail resting downwards- so try to apply the guide to your specific dog.

If in doubt contact your veterinary practice

And always keep your vet's phone number handy - just in case!