People have been trying to number out what dogs space trying come tell them for centuries. Body language have the right to say a lot around a dog’s mood, just like a human’s. Check out what her dog — or someone else’s — is trying to communicate to you v his or she tail. You might be surprised around what he or she is yes, really saying.

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1. Why dog tails are important


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When Dr. Lisa Radosta, owner of Florida Veterinary behavior Service, talked to petMD, she speak tails. Dog tails, the is.

“The tail serves several functions, such as acting as a rudder in the water when the dog is swimming and acting for balance as soon as a dog is running. If you clock a dog take it a tight turn at high speed, girlfriend will most likely see him usage his tail because that stability,” stated Radosta. In addition, a dog supplies his tail to communicate, along with facial expressions and body postures.

Next: poor doggy

2. Tucked in


Scared dog with tail in between legs | Goldfinch4ever/iStock/Getty Images

If you view your dog’s tail tucked between his foot — keep in mind that this position is a bit various from him just pulling his tail down — he could be afraid, follow to Reader’s Digest.

“This can mean a dog is feeling threatened or is fear of the situation he’s in. A tail tucked between the foot covers a dog’s genital area for protection,” said Erin Askeland, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA the Camp Bow Wow. In other words, take care if you see your dog in this posture.

 Next: This can mean a pair things.

3. Curled toward the head


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Because part dogs’ tails naturally curl or bend toward the head, this tail position could mean he is relaxed, follow to Reader’s Digest. Yet if her dog is hold or pulling it toward his head it might mean he’s overstimulated, on high alert, or really excited. In a situation like this, it’s crucial to clock the rest of the dog’s body language come decipher what that means, since the spectrum varieties from alarmed to joyful.

Next: because that these dogs, examine out the tail’s base.

4. What around stubby tails?


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How have the right to you recognize what breeds v stubby or curly tails room trying to tell you? follow to Reader’s Digest, the stubby tails mimic the exact same signals as the straight and also long tails — it’s just a tiny harder to recognize what they’re communicating.

“A key component to reading tails that space stubby or curly is come look at the basic of the tail. Due to the fact that the tail is attached to the spine, any type of movement that the tail starts in ~ the base, for this reason if girlfriend look in ~ the base of the tail, you can see as soon as a stubby tail is increased straight up, in the air, or tucked under over the butt, etc,” stated Askeland

Next: go to the vet automatically if you see this.

5. Limp


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It’s important to remember that your dog’s tail is an expansion of that backbone and a sensitive part of his anatomy the can conveniently be injured, follow to Reader’s Digest.

“A limp tail, one that cannot wag, is a problem and also can mean a dog has actually an injury straight to the tail or come other associated areas. A tail have the right to be sprained, broken, dislocated, or have nerve damage that reasons it to walk limp,” stated Askeland. Seek immediate veterinary treatment if her dog’s tail is limp.

Next: your dog most likely isn’t comfortable if the does this.

6. Traction down


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If her dog is holding his tail in ~ a short level — extending his dog’s anus however not however disappearing in between his legs — he might be feeling nervous, according to Reader’s Digest.

“A tail the is traction down reflects a dog is not entirely comfortable with the instance he’s in and could be feeling anxious, nervous, or unsure,” claimed Askeland. “A tail wag or wiggle may additionally be contained as a authorize of appeasement.”

Next: The best kind that wag.

7. Right-hand wag


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According to Reader’s Digest, a dog wagging his tail to the best will most most likely be friendly.

“There is research that suggests that once a dog wags that tail top top the ideal side, it’s considered much more likely to be friendly than as soon as a dog wags its tail ~ above the left next of the body,” claimed Russ Hartstein, CEO of funny Paw Care, certified dog behaviorist and also trainer in Los Angeles. If your dog is wagging his tail come the left, it’s most likely he’s encountering a instance in which he’s not completely comfortable, such together a leading dog with an it is not kind stance.

Next: You can want to earlier away from this.

8. High and stiff


Small Terrier through tail in the wait | Upyanose/IStock/Getty Images

If your pup is holding his tail high and also stiff and also the guideline is wagging quickly, that usually means he’s alert, confident, and strutting his stuff, according to Reader’s Digest. Yet if his tail is high and also stiff roughly other dogs, he could be displaying his dominance. And also if his tail is high and also stiff and he’s showing any type of teeth, open mouth, increased hackles, and also a wrinkled nose, it’s absolutely a cue to earlier off.

Next: Proceed with caution.

9. Sluggish wag


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If her dog is wagging her tail slowly, she could just it is in contemplating her next move, follow to Reader’s Digest. Yet it could also be one indication that your dog isn’t feeling friendly, therefore you must remind strangers to continue with caution.

“Make sure to take it the whole environment and also personality that the dog into consideration. If it was an unknown dog, execute not interact,” claimed Hartstein.

Next: Beware of dog.

10. Rapid and shaky


Jack Russel Terrier | Edoma/IStock/Getty Images

Tension and also hostility can reason your dog come wag his tail in a fast, vigorous manner, follow to Reader’s Digest. And, if her dog is wagging his tail this way, he might spring into activity at any kind of moment, so be careful roughly strangers. “This is a highly aroused dog and also should usually be avoided until it handle down,” stated Hartstein.

Next: Welcome home.

11. Full body


Woman Greeting irish Terriers in ~ Front Door | Ryan McVay/iStock/Getty Images

Your dog likely does a full body tail shake when you gain home from work. The will additionally probably be shaking his human body loosely and be wearing a submissive grin, follow to Reader’s Digest. “The an ext swaying and wiggly movement closer come the head that the dog, the friendlier the dog is,” claimed Hartstein.

Next: Dog speak

12. Dogs understand tail messages


Three dogs to run at dog park through a stick outside in the dirt. | studio-laska/iStock/Getty Images

Even if people don’t constantly get it, dogs entirely understand various other dogs’ tail signals, follow to readers Digest. The tail motions are frequently slight and challenging for human being to perceive, yet dogs acquire it best way. Funny just how that works — we can not hear a target conversation, however canines sure do.

Next: height is important.

13. A dog’s tail elevation tells a story


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According to petMD, normally speaking, if her dog is holding her tail high and wagging it she signaling enthusiasm. And also your dog’s tail height can also say a lot about her level the confidence.

The greater the tail, the an ext confident the dog — the lower the tail, the an ext nervous or timid the dog. That said, if your dog is holding her tail high over her back, mental to continue with caution.

Next: Speed additionally matters.

14. The wagging speed likewise tells story


Coton de Tulear dog | Bigandt_Photography/iStock/Getty Images

According to petMD, the rate at which he wags his tail is a good indicator of just how your dog is feeling. Typically, a quick wag is a good sign the he’s friendly and wants come interact, however a slow-moving wag — together you now understand — can mean he’s not friendly. A good rule of ignorance is, the closer come the former of the body the back-and-forth tail rocking starts, the friendlier the dog will be.

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Next: Every dog is different.

15. Save in mind these are just guidelines


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Tail wags deserve to have different definitions depending ~ above the situation, and you should always look at the various other signals the a dog is giving before you approach, according to petMD. Also, don’t forget the dogs’ tail wagging can take top top different interpretations can.

“It is a pretty universal behavior. What isn’t universal is temperament between and also within breeds,” said Dr. Linda Radosta, owner the Florida Veterinary actions Service. “One separation, personal, instance dog may wag his tail a tiny lower or a little greater or a tiny faster than one more individual. That is necessary for owners to gain to know their dog’s human body language.”