Tail Wagging Talk

Deb D’Andrea, Nederland.  Dogs are pretty amazing in their ability to communicate using vocalization, body language and the all-important tail wag. While it is essential to look at the whole body to fully understand what they are communicating, the tail is an easy body part to see and read; that is unless you’re like Bear and don’t have a tail. With Bear, her entire butt wiggle serves as an indicator of what she’s thinking. Several studies have been completed helping us understand just what they are thinking.


Tail height can be a glimpse into what is going on in a dog’s brain. A middle height indicates a dog that is relaxed; a horizontally held tail means a dog is attentive or alert. If the tail continues up over the body becoming vertical, it’s time to back off as this may be a warning sign that the dog is expressing dominance.


If the tail drops, this could be a sign that the dog is more submissive, or possibly feels poorly. If the dog is experiencing fear, the tail will be tucked tightly under their body. While these are general positions for a dog’s tail regardless of breed, there are variations of each based on the natural position of a dog’s tail at rest. For instance, a husky has a tail that naturally curls over their back, so reading their tail communication would be slightly different.


Then you’ve got the speed of the wag and the tail sweep position indicating how excited they are. The variations are many and each nuance slightly changes the overall meaning of the tail wag. A big broad tail wag is a happy wag; while a slower wag at half-mast can be a sign of insecurity.


When a dog feels positive, their tail will sometimes wag more to the right; if they’re feeling negative, to the left. All of these subtle tail movements are clear ways dogs communicate with other dogs, and people, what they are thinking, if one is paying attention. The more you pay attention to these subtle movements, the better you’ll be able to read your and other dogs!


Till next time. Deb D’Andrea, founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz & the Caribou Dog Ranch is recognized by the State of Colorado as a Certified Canine Massage Therapist and will visit your home or Vet’s office to work with your dog. Canine Agility may be offered at the Caribou Dog Ranch in 2017 if there is interest.



Deb currently has limited availability for new Petz Nanny Clients; and she bakes up fresh dog treats & doggy birthday cakes per order. For information contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or email: info@4theluvofdogz.com.

Deb D'Andrea

Deb D’Andrea a columnist for The Mountain-Ear. She is the founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz which provides mobile Canine Massage, Canine Agility and Petz Nanny Services. Her home-made dog treats are sold at local stores, and 4TheLuvOfDogz K9Birthday Cakes are available direct. Deb Petz Nanny’s for dogs, cats, birds, fish, horses, etc. Contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or email. Online: 4TheLuvOfDogz