Any other animal lovers out there just wish you could talk to your goodest four legged family member? Well, unfortunately we still can’t (even though it’s 2023, like c’mon science) but this could be the next best thing.
British vet Dr Ciara Clarke spoke with Mirror News UK to explain how your dog communicates using tail movements and what the different movements mean.
“A common misconception when it comes to dogs is that a wagging tail always signals happiness or excitement. But while this is often the case, a dog’s tail can reveal so much more – with its position and the speed of its wagging often signs of very different emotions.”
Dr Clarke told Mirror that, “Dogs may not be able to talk, but if we listen, or rather, watch, we learn a lot about what they are trying to communicate to us and to each other. Tail position can indicate a number of things from agitation, negotiation, aggression and insecurity to friendliness, excitement, happiness and curiosity.”
A dog on high alert will stand with its ears up and tail raised.
When a dog suddenly stops wagging their tail and freezes, it may mean they want to divert a threat without being aggressive.
Look for a dog’s tail that moves from a neutral position to a vertical one or arches over the back. The higher the tail, the greater the threat.
The high position releases more of the dog’s scent from the anal glands – marking their territory.
This can be a sign of a dog being an active threat. Remember that a person can get bitten by a dog that is wagging its tail!
When a dog’s tail moves from a neutral position to a lower one, the dog is submissive and not a threat. If the tail is tucked tightly between the rear legs, the dog is scared.
When a dog is curious about something, they will hold their tail straight out in a horizontal position.
When a dog is happy, their tail is neutral or slightly raised and will wag healthily.
The faster a dog’s tail wags, the more excited they are. Sometimes a dog’s tail can wag so fast it appears to vibrate.
A tail wag can range from very slow to extremely rapid (known as flagging).
A dog that is tentative about meeting a new person or another dog may wag their tail ever so slightly to indicate that they are insecure.
A dog that is very friendly may wag their tail more freely and even wiggle their hips at the same time.
Dr Clarke finished with, “Dogs without tails communicate, but they have limitations. They may approach other dogs or people cautiously to avoid miscommunication.”
“They depend on other aspects of body language such as ear position, facial expression and stance to communicate their intentions.”