855 908 4010

Pet Bucket Blog

Why do dogs wag their tails?

 by lucy on 13 Apr 2017 |
1 Comment(s)
Tails serve many practical purposes for our canine companions, from giving them better balance while running to spreading their unique scent to other dogs nearby. Tails are also one of our pets’ key ways of communicating, letting others know when they’re feeling nervous, excited or open to communication. By watching your dog’s wag, then, you can better understand how he’s feeling and what he’s trying to say.
Dogs use their tails, face and body posture to communicate, making his tail one of your pet’s primary means of expressing his moods. In fact, studies have shown that dogs only wag their tails when they’re with company, making it a completely social activity. Watching a dog’s tail, how it’s positioned, whether it’s relaxed and how fast it’s moving can communicate crucial information. A tail held high usually signals enthusiasm, for example, and confident canines tend to hold their tails higher, allowing them to spread more of their scent. A dog holding his tail extremely high or wagging only the tip, however, is likely on high alert and you should avoid him or proceed with caution. Those with their tails low or between their legs are more timid or feeling nervous.
Similar to tail height, the speed of a dog’s wag can tell you a lot about his mood. A loose, relaxed wag generally means a pet is in good spirits. The “full body wag”—when a dog’s whole body is relaxed and sways with his tail’s sweeping motions—usually means a dog is ready for a friendly interaction. A tense, stiff wag indicates tension or hostility. Watch for the rate of a dog’s wag, too, as brisk tail wagging is generally a good signal, while slower motions can indicate your pet is feeling apprehensive or unfriendly.
Perhaps the most common misconception about dogs is that a wagging tail means a happy pet. While dogs certainly wag their tails when they’re happy, the gesture simply means an animal is paying attention and open to communication— not that he’s in a good spirits. Because it can be difficult to gauge a dog’s attitude just from his tail, watch the rest of his body to better understand how Fido is feeling. It’s worth noting that tail movements and their meanings vary from dog to dog and across breeds, making it important to get to know your pet and his unique body language. Dogs with docked tails have difficultly communicating with their canine peers, so you leave your dog’s tail unaltered so he can fully participate in social life.


Linda - Comment
Linda14 Apr 2017Reply
What is the explanation then when a dog wags his tail as he sleeps by himself and dreams. That's not a social encounter.
rob - Comment
rob14 Apr 2017Reply
since you don't know what the dog is dreaming about, you can't tell if the wagging is social or not. If the dog is dreaming about a social interaction, the body is still responding to what is going on in his mind, just as we do when we dream.

Join the Conversation

* Please enter your name.
Email address will not be published
Please enter a valid email address.
* Please enter your comment.
Image Verification
'Please enter security code.

You may also like

Should I feed my dog fish oil?

The benefits of fish oil for humans have been touted for years, but few people know these supplements can also help our ...

Why does my dog bark at nothing?

Dogs bark for all kinds of reasons—to let you know they need to go out, to greet you playfully, or to alert you when a s...

Seven cat sounds and what they mean

From meowing and purring to hisses, growls and groans, cats make a wide variety of sounds. Though they sometimes sound l...

Four tricks to teach your dog now

When it comes to keeping your dog’s brain sharp, nothing works quite as well as teaching him a few new tricks. Not only ...

This is why you’re petting your cat wrong

All cat owners have had the jarring experience of lavishing their feline friends with affection only to receive an abrup...

How to stop your dog from jumping on people

When dogs meet, they greet each other face-to-face, but this can become a problem when your companion greets people the ...

How much should you really feed your cat?

If you’re a first-time cat owner or have recently taken home a new pet, one of the first questions you’ll ask yourself i...

What does it mean when my dog licks the air?

We’ve all watched our canine companions lick themselves clean, but some dogs lick at the air for seemingly no reason. Wh...
Call Us - 855 908 4010

Search blog archives

Latest Updates

Blog Archives

Subscribe to RSS

Subscribe to RSS feed

Customer Testimonials
Karen Verso
Karen Verso
Australia, Hillside
20 Mar 2018
Thank you John. Its great to see that you actually follow up for your customers. I have been very very happy with the whole serv ... more
Shop with Confidence
  • Low Price Guarantee
  • Free & Fast Shipping
  • Best Customer Service
Pet Bucket Ltd is a UK registered company | Company no: 08345021 | 21 Pickford Rd. St.Albans | AL3 8RS UK Translation and Localization by Localizer