Do you know what your dog is saying when he runs up to you, his tail held high, wagging back and forth, front end down and rear end up? Then he takes off running away from you? Lucky you, for you have just been invited to join her in her world of dog play. Our dogs talk to us through their bodies, eyes, vocalization, and posture. Today, we are going to discuss the rear end of the dog, its tail.
Each wagging direction is governed by its own brain hemisphere. Either it leans more to the left or the right depends mostly on which mood, and therefore which side of the brain, is dominant.
This wagging tucked, held high or medium, bristled or relaxed appendage speaks to us. It is important to remember that when reading a dogs intention, you must look at the entire dog, its posture, and behavior. Its tail is only a portion of the message.
Usually, in an aggressive state, a dog's tail is up, bristled and wagging. There is a misconception that if a dog's tail is wagging, it is happy. Not true, a dog's tail wags from excitement either positive or negative. When a dog is in an aggressive state, ears back, muscles stiff, eye contact and hair raised, her tail can be wagging from the excitement. Always look at the entire dog and its behavior before judging its intentions.
A dog will usually show a submissive state by assuming a crouched position avoids eye contact, ears down or back and its tail tucked between the legs. Even in this state, the dog can attack out of fright.
In a relaxed and happy state, a dog's tail will be held at mid height, wagging back and forth. Her body posture is relaxed, eyes are playful and there will be that invitation to play. Our dogs use their tails to talk to us. It is up to us to be able to properly read what they are saying.