Why do Dogs Wag Their Tail?

If you've ever wondered, why do dogs wag their tail, read on as Barking Mad dog sitters explain all

Why do dogs wag their tail?

At Barking Mad Dog Care, we know that there’s nothing lovelier than being greeted by an enthusiastic pooch but have you ever considered, why do dogs wag their tail? The simple answer is that dogs wag their tails as a method of communication. Tail wagging is instinctive and forms part of dogs’ communication with each other and with humans. Read on to learn more.

Does tail wagging always mean a dog is happy?

There is so much more to canine body language than just tail position and movement. Before just assuming that a dog is happy because their tail is wagging, you should check out the rest of their body for other signals, whilst also paying attention to their environment.

How to understand your dog’s tail language

Dogs use their tail motion and position to communicate, providing a window into their emotional state. Our guide below may provide some insight into what they are trying to say:

  • When a dog is pleased to see you they will generally move their tail rapidly in a circular motion. Experts often refer to this as a ‘helicoptor’ motion.
  • A natural, smooth and sweeping tail usually means that your dog is feeling relaxed and calm
  • When a dog wags its tail slightly to the right, research has shown that this indicates recognition
  • A lowered or tucked in tail, which is wagging slightly can indicate a worried pooch. This doggy body language is thought to convey that your dog isn’t a threat to others.
  • When your dog clamps their tail firmly in between their legs, this shows that they feel very worried and may feel the need to defend themselves. You should give any dog which is displaying this behaviour some space.
  • A tail which is held high whilst wagging fast tends to show excitement
  • If a dog wags their tail rapidly from side to side whilst carrying out an activity like following a scent or searching for a toy, this can be a sign of concentration


Dogs have been proven to understand each other’s tail language

A 2013 study found that dogs understand the asymmetric tail wagging of other dogs. When a dog wags its tail to the right, this was shown to  relax other canines, while a left-wagging tail was documented as causing stress indicators.

When do dogs start to wag their tails?

It is interesting to note that dogs aren’t born wagging their tails. Tail wagging activity usually develops at around 3-4 weeks of age but this can vary depending on the dog’s particular breed.


Happy dog holidays with Barking Mad mean wagging tails

Wagging tails are a big part of doggy body language


Tail waggingly good dog holidays…

At Barking Mad Dog Care, we love to keep tails wagging all year round! If you have to go away without your dog, it’s only natural that you want them to receive the very best of care. Our bespoke dog holidays are so popular because we take the time to get to know your dog as an individual. This allows us to match them with a dog sitter host family who are perfect for their needs. Why not find your local branch and get in touch today to discover more?

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