Dog Tail Language and What It Means

dog tail

Dogs are quite an expressive sort of animal. They express their emotions not only by their face or their barking and whining but also through their tail. A dog tail can communicate a lot of information to us, but we must know how to interpret it. It’s a good thing dog psychology can already indicate dog tail language.

One of the most common misconceptions about dog tails is that when dogs wag their tails, it must mean they are happy and excited. It is not always the case. Wagging can mean a lot of different things depending on the context of the situation the dog is in.

According to Dr. Lisa Radosata, owner of Florida Veterinary Behavior Service, one should view a wagging tail as a sign of willingness to interact. However, this does not mean that the dog is friendly. A wagging tail simply means that a dog is mentally aroused and engaged with what is going on.

Here are different dog tail positions and what they mean.

Tail held high and still

This dog tail language indicates alertness and the desire to portray dominance.

Tail held high and wagging

This shows happiness but also a state of alertness. The dog is cautiously excited but is also asserting dominance.

Tail held between the legs

This means the dog is afraid and submissive. This usually happens when the dog senses you are angry or when something in its surroundings is scaring it.

Tail held straight out

This shows that the dog is taking in new information and is responding neutrally.

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