Tail Wagging Doesn’t Always Indicate Happiness
Did you know that tail wagging is only done when a dog is in the presence of another living being? Tail wagging is reserved for when the dog is in the presence of a human, another dog or cat, or sometimes just for a leaf that happens to blow across the lawn.
One of the biggest myths in the dog world is that if he’s wagging his tail, he must be happy. Sometimes it does mean he’s happy, but not all the time. Depending on the height of the tail and the wagging pattern, it could have several different meanings.
What the Height of the Tail Indicates
The height of the wagging tail is what truly indicates what the dog is trying to tell you. He could be trying to show you that he’s happy, scared, feels threatened, or if you come any closer, he’s probably going to bite you!
The higher the tail is, the more threatening he is becoming. If the tail is vertical, that definitely means that you should back off because he’s going to bite if you come any closer. This is the angry, alpha dog.
If the tail is in the middle (at half-mast), it usually means that the dog is relaxed, and if held horizontally, it means that he’s alert and paying attention.
The lower the tail is, the more submissive he is becoming. He could be afraid, hurt, or doesn’t feel good. And when he tucks his tail under his belly, he’s basically asking you not to hurt him.
The Movement of the Tail Also Has Different Meanings
If the tail is at half-mast and is wiggling back and forth just a little bit, this is usually a tentative ‘hello’ for someone he doesn’t know yet.
If the tail is wagging slowly, and it’s at half-mast, it usually means that he’s not trying to threaten you, but he’s not quite sure about you either. He hasn’t made up his mind yet, but he thinks he’d like to get to know you better.
The faster the tail wags, the happier he is. If his tail is practically wagging his butt along with it, it most likely means that he’s ecstatic! If he were a human, he’d probably be jumping up and down for joy!
If the tail is wagging really fast, but in a tiny pattern, it usually means he’s about to do something. He could be getting ready to run, or even fight. If the tail is being held high while wagging in this manner, it’s a definite threat.
Scientists recently discovered that if the tail is wagging mostly to the right (the dog’s right), he is having positive feelings. And if it’s wagging mostly to the left, it’s the opposite. He’s having negative feelings. Now, I have to tell you folks, I really have no clue how they came to that conclusion, but I’m pretty sure they spent an awful lot of our money to figure it out!
Another Thing to Take Into Consideration
Tail Wagging can also depend on the breed of dog! If you look at a Husky, they always have their tails curled over their backs! Are they trying to be threatening? Probably not.
And then there’s the Greyhound, who always has his tail hanging low or even tucked under his belly. Is he always scared or being submissive? Again, probably not.
What about the dogs that have had their tails docked and there’s nothing but a stub? Well, I have to tell you…you’re pretty much on your own there, unless you can tell when he’s wagging his butt to the right or left!
Basically, if the dog’s tail is at half-mast, and he’s wagging his butt to the right, he’s positively happy! And if only the tail (and not the butt) is wagging vertically, and to the left, you might not want to get any closer. And if you’re thinking about getting a Husky or a Greyhound, do your research on the breed (which you should do anyway), so you know what to look for.
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