Why do dogs wag their tails? Discover the meanings behind this gesture!

Last Updated on March 9, 2023 by Woody Pet

Why do dogs wag their tails? Does your dog wag her tail often? It can mean many things. While we often associate tail-wagging with positive things, there can be other reasons behind this common gesture. Dogs wag their tails at varying speeds and motions. These can serve as your clues to know the real cause of your pet’s body movement.

Aside from observing the speed of the tail-wagging, you can also determine your dog’s emotions by looking at the direction of her tails. One study suggests tail wagging to the right means your pet feels positive feelings. Tail wagging to the left means your dog may be having negative sentiments.

Why do dogs wag their tails every time they feel certain emotions? Your dog can’t tell you when she’s sad or happy so she uses her body parts to express those feelings. Below are the reasons your buddy wags her tail whenever she wants to communicate.

Why do dogs wag their tails?

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5 Reasons Dogs Wag their Tails

Your dog is feeling happy

Dogs express cheerfulness in different ways but one of the common ways they do it is by wagging their tails. It’s a social signal dog do to connect with others and express happiness. If the strokes are broad, it could mean your dog is very happy. Perhaps you did something that entertained them, like teaching them fun new tricks and playing games.

The best part about dogs is that they are not hard to please. Simple things like cuddle time on the couch make them happy. If you want to see those tails wagging widely all the time, do the things that will please your buddy. After all, you’re the person who knows your pet the most so you surely know what makes her happy.

Your pet is thrilled

Have you seen your dog wagging her tail in a circular motion? Dog tail wagging in circles means your dog wants to express her excitement. Our pets can be insanely happy every time they play with their favorite toys and when they see us arrive after a long day.

Dog tail wagging in circles does not apply to all breeds. Those with docked tails such as Yorkshire Terriers and Rottweilers can’t do the circular motion due to the shape of their tails. These dogs express their excitement in other ways such as running around in circles and barking.Why do dogs wag their tails?

Your dog might be nervous

Fast tail wagging in dogs signals fear. When your dog is feeling nervous or tense, she will wag her tail in a side-by-side movement. Her body looks like it’s lowered as she moves backward. If your dog crouches down in fear while wagging her tail, you might want to know where the fear might be coming from.

Dogs are individuals so they have different ways of dealing with fear. There are a lot of things that may cause anxiety or nervousness in canines. It could be from the sound of loud music, being left alone, and being around people who are not familiar with them. 

If your pet wags her tail around strangers, it’s because she does not feel comfortable around them. Strange people might seem like a threat to some dogs and they move the muscles of their tails to convey that message to their owners. The tail-wagging is often accompanied by excessive barking.

Your dog might be angry

Do dogs wag their tails when they attack? Yes, it’s possible. When anxious, dogs wag their tails faster than usual. The speed is similar to when they are frightened. You’ll know a dog is ready to fight if this fast wagging comes with the stiffness of the body.

It’s believed that if a dog wags its tail very high, there’s a chance it is about to bite. You might want to observe how the tail moves every time your dog is about to approach other dogs. She might be trying to establish her dominance by keeping those tail wags high.

It’s not easy to understand why dogs wag their tails when they attack. But their tails are more than just a body part. They use their tails to move accordingly and to communicate. A dominant dog will keep her tail high to inform other dogs that she’s not going to submit to them.

Your dog is dreaming of something good

Does your pet wag her tail even when she sleeps? It’s common and it’s often associated with other actions such as twitching and even barking. Why do dogs wag their tails while sleeping? The main reason is that they are in a deep sleep and they are likely dreaming of something happy or exciting. Your dog might be playing in her dreams, hence the tail-wagging.

Like humans, animals can dream too. Many pieces of research in the past suggest dogs dream because their brain wave activity and their sleep patterns are similar to that of humans. It’s just intriguing what they are seeing in their dreams. It can be something they usually do, like chasing and eating since we humans also dream about the things we normally do.

Why do dogs wag their tails conclusion?

Canine body language can be quite complicated. But by knowing why dogs wag their tails, it becomes easier for pet parents to understand their small actions and behavior. Tail-wagging does not automatically mean your dog is happy. She can feel other emotions, too. She might be doing this gesture out of worry, submissiveness, or insecurity. 

The best way to know if it’s a positive or if it’s a negative feeling is to observe the tail’s movement and speed. Its direction will tell you whether the tail wagging is your dog’s way of expressing happiness or fear. Remember, the tail to the right means positive, and the tail pointed to the left means negative emotions. 

There are also instances when our furry little friends wag their tails while sleeping. It’s funny how dogs do it but when you know the reason why dogs wag their tails while sleeping, you will be used to it and will no longer find it surprising.


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