Have you ever seen your dog wagging its tail? You sure have, and that could mean lots of different things depending on his emotional state. But, what’s your furry baby really trying to tell you?
Happy doggie or angry doggie?
The first thing you have to know is that a wagging tail isn’t necessarily a sign of happiness. It’s a usual misconception because it can actually mean just the opposite: some doggies can be wagging their tails to show their happiness, some of them in fear or as a signal to challenge you (or another animal). Think of that Rottweiler, you see desperately moving the butt but when you try to pet him, jumps!
That’s why you have to be very careful and read the butt-signs of your best friend. Tail wagging must be considered as a language, as you consider sign language or body language. When you see a Human frowning, you already know he’s angry or pensive, right? Well, let’s’ get down to it and discover the actually not-so-mysterious signs our pets are giving us.
Tales of the tails
Do you ever wish your dog could talk? Well, it’s already telling you all kind of things, not only with its eyes, ears, and voice but with its tail!
Stanley Coren, a professor of psychology, explains that the movement is a very important aspect of this language; he says that the tail height can be a significant sign which he calls “emotional meter”. The higher the tail, the dog becomes dominant and aggressive.
When the tail is horizontal, it could mean our pet is alert and paying attention, like when he sees something he doesn’t quite recognize. If the tail is relaxed at a middle height, our doggie is calm, and as the height goes down… it could mean that our furry friend is being submissive, worried that something could happen to him or even sad.
If your dog throws down the trash can and eats everything on it, would it come to you with the tail between the legs or with a wagging happy tail? That could tell you if it’s actually sorry or proud about its piece of art: “look, Human! I ate the trash and now you don’t have to take it outside, now give me a treat!”
What about the speed?
The speed of the movement is an important sign to pay attention to. Is it wagging rapidly? That could be a good sign like “throw that ball, I want to play!” but pay attention to the height, if the tail is high and almost vibrating from the speed, you better not touch it.
What if the tail doesn’t move at all? If the tail is stiff and high, that could be a bad sign, if the tail is down but relaxed, there’s nothing to be worried about but if the tail is just between the legs, it would be best if we give our furry baby a little bit of love.
Friend or foe?
To wrap this up, you can read a lot about dogs’ behavior, but as every person is a whole world, the same goes with dogs. They have their personalities, characters and life experiences that make them act the way they do. If you have a furry friend, you surely will get the hang of deciphering the signals really quick. Remember, these are just general signs but the trick is to be very perceptive and observant. Good luck!