Why Do Dogs Wag Their Tails?

By on April 19, 2011

What is the meaning of dog tail wagging? Why do dogs wag their tails in certain ways at particular times? What are dogs saying to each other when they wag their tails? How can we read the signs of a dog's tail wagging gestures?

Ahh, such lofty questions for us at K9 Magazine. But make no mistake fellow dog tail wagging observers, for this is a serious issue. This article forms part of our new series on Understanding Dog Body Language. We've recently been asking our readers to tell us what they'd like more of and dog body language (or more to the point: why does my dog do....) has appeared prominently in the list.

So here we begin with the task of answering the question: why do dogs wag their tails?

Why Do Dogs Wag Their Tails

Question: Why Do Dogs Wag Their Tails & What Are They Trying To Communicate Via Tail Position?

For dogs, tail position is an important indicator of social standing and mental state of a dog. There will be some variations, of course, depending upon the natural tail position of the dog: a West Highland white terrier will carry its carrot-shaped tail higher than a golden retriever its flowing, feathery tail, and a greyhound's relaxed tail position is lower yet.

Let's Take a Look at The Meaning Of Tail Positions

Almost horizontal, pointing away from the dog but not stiff: This is a sign of attention. It roughly translates as "Something interesting may be happening here."

Straight out horizontally, pointing away from the dog: This is part of an initial challenge when meeting a stranger or an intruder. It roughly translates as "Let's establish who's boss here."

Tail up, between the horizontal and vertical position: This is the sign of a


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