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When your dog wags his tail, most automatically think ‘awe, he’s so happy.’ However, this isn’t always the case. There are many variations of ‘tail wagging’ and they each mean something different for your pup.
For example, a wagging tail in a young puppy may mean that he is hungry and needs his mother or that he is letting his siblings know he’s done playing with them.
Tails as Communication
As humans, we use words to talk. That’s our language. As you know, dogs don’t use words and although they learn our language to an extent, they don’t speak it. Your dog’s primary method of communication is through body language.
Body Language and the Tail
Before we can dive into tail wags, you must first know what your dog’s natural tail position is (varies by breed). Most dogs have their tail relaxed toward the floor when they’re in a neutral state of mind.
The position of your dog’s tail can mean one (or more) of the following:
There is also new research out there which suggests positive feelings within a dog are associated with the right side. For example, if your dog is about to receive a treat or snack of some sort, their tail will likely move from right to left.
On the other hand, negative feelings are typically connected to the left side.
Essentially, the research suggests if your dog is moving his tail from left to right, that’s a sign of negative feelings (and vice-versa).
Make sure you are aware of your surroundings, of any triggers, and the situation you are in when reading your dog’s body language.
The tail is only one factor in your dog’s language, but it is certainly a great start when you’re learning about your dog’s behavior and moods.
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