Why Dogs Wag Their Tails? Dog Tail Movement explained

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Why Do DOGS Wag Their TAILS

Why dogs wag their tails? Most people think that dogs wag their tails when they’re happy, but in reality, a wagging tail isn’t always a sign of happiness. A wagging tail can actually indicate anxiety, loneliness, fear, aggression, sadness, or other things.

If you have a dog, you want to get to know their body language. They might wag their tail when they’re happy, excited or surprised. Some dogs may even give a single flip of their tails when they feel nervous, fearful, or angry.

Canine eye researcher Dr. Stanley Coren writes in Psychology Today that since dogs’ eyes are very sensitive to motion, a moving tail is a great visual cue to other dogs. A tail wagging is an effective nonverbal communication tool that can serve the same communication functions as a human smile, a polite greeting, or a nod of recognition.

There are so many ways to interpret your dogs tail and body language that it can be hard to keep up with what it really means. By reading your dogs tail and body language you can learn a lot about your dog, like if he or she is happy, tired, sad, and more.

As a result, there are many combinations, including the subsequent common tail movements. A slight wag with each swing of only a small breath is usually seen during greetings as we do hello there or a hopeful I’m here, a broad wag is friendly, I’m not challenging I’m pleased. This is often the closest to the favored concept of the happiness wag you’re safe.

why dogs wag their tails

Dogs Behavior – Why Dogs Wag Their Tails?

The Tail Waging In Two Ways.

One is the position of the tail:
Is it Low, In body level or is it high?

  1. Tail Low and wagging, Dog is relaxed and calm.
  2. Tail high and in body level wagging, your dog is thinking and deciding what to do. 
  3. Tail high up, your dog is showing and feeling Dominant. 

Look out for other body language signs as this could be a sign that the is about to be aggressive. And then the direction of the wagging: We have three options.

First, we have a Circular

If the wagging is in a circular motion it is 90 percent of the time a happy tail wag especially when it involves his or her hips as well with a relaxed tail.

And if it is not circular then is the tail wagging more to the right or more to the left, this could be confusing or hard to recognize, but an easy way to find out which direction it is to stand in front of your dog while his face is facing you. That way it becomes much easier to recognize.

More to the right

So if the tail wagging is more to the right that is a positive wag and is simply saying whatever is going in his or her mind is positive.

More to the left

that is a sign of negative thinking going through your dog’s mind. So we put together the level of the tail and the direction of the tail we can have a decent idea of what is your dog communicating to you.

What Your Dog’s Tail Is Telling You?

When you have a dog at your home, you can also see this dog wagging its tail. In fact, dogs can’t control the tail movement but they can control the speed of movement. The dog wags the tail for different reasons. If you are wondering why dogs wag their tails, then here is the answer.

1. Happy

Dogs wag their tails because they feel happy. They wag the tail whenever they are feeling happy. This is one of the most important reasons for dog wagging their tails.

2. Interest

Dogs wag their tails when they see something interesting. This is the most common reason for dog wagging their tails.

3. Play

Dogs play a lot when they are bored. They play with their toys and play with their own body. They like to play with each other. If your dog is playing with his toys and you see that he is wagging the tail then it means that he is really interested in playing.

4. Excitement

Dogs wag their tails when they are excited. They are very happy and excited.

5. Disinterested

Dogs wag their tails when they are not interested. It happens when a dog doesn’t want to play or does not want to go for a walk.

6. Wants attention

Dogs wag their tails when they want your attention. They are happy that you are paying attention to them.

7. Anxiety

If your dog is anxious, then it will wag its tail.

8. Anger

If a dog is angry, then he will wag the tail. This is an automatic response of a dog.

9. Fear

Dogs wag their tails when they are afraid.

10. Hurt

A dog wags the tail when it is hurt.


It is very obvious that there are many reasons for dog wagging their tails, but we have given you the most common reasons for dog wagging their tails. we believe that dogs can wag their tails in a relaxed way to greet us as a way of smiling at us. What do you think? What is your experience with dog tail wagging? 

Thank you for visiting, have a good day, and see you next time.


What does it mean when a dog wags its tail side to side?

Wagging the tail side to side is the most commonly observed canine behavior. It is used as an indication of happiness, alertness, excitement, or interest.
This is similar to how humans express happiness. Wagging the tail also helps balance an animal’s body, which in turn reduces muscle fatigue.
If a dog wags its tail straight up and down, it is a sign that it is afraid or anxious.

When do puppies start wagging their tails?

A puppy will have a wag every so often for the first few weeks or so, but it starts to pick up speed once it reaches five to six weeks old. Puppies will develop wagging behavior in various forms, but it usually looks like an exaggerated, happy wag.

Why do dogs wag their tails when they are in trouble?

This is because it’s an instinctual behavior to warn a potential predator or potential threat away. A wagging tail is a powerful, direct message to a potential predator, and also a “I’m harmless” message to a potential threat. 
When a dog is frightened or submissive, it’ll often hold its tail between its legs and shake it slightly between its legs. This is usually a sign of submission or fear.
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1 Comment

  1. I never really gave much thought to a dog’s tail wagging. Yet, if one knows the basic signs, and keeps an on on the tail, that could be helpful. I would want to know if my dog is truly happy, or if something not so great is about to happen. The tail wagging sounds like a built in alarm system in a way. 🙂

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