Dog Allergies and Treatments

Every Tail tells a story

Tail Movement and position tail problems in dogs

Have you noticed the position of the tail in your everyday activities with your dog?  It can be quite enlightening when you know what tail position means.  Just yesterday I was walking my dog and I saw an owner with his dog.  His dog was not barking or making a fuss but I noticed his tail was horizontal and stiff.

I took a good firm hold on my dog and sure enough when we got closer the dog sprang at my dog, growling and baring his teeth.  The owner of the dog hadn’t noticed the body language and started yelling at his dog.  He hadn’t a clue why the dog reacted that way but he should have noticed the tail and body language.

Here are common tail positions and what they mean

  • Relaxed tail: Relaxation and comfort.
  • Hanging horizontal but not stiff: A sign of attention. The dog sees something interesting.
  • Hanging horizontal but stiff: The dog is confronting an intruder or someone or something unknown.
  • Upright tail: This is a sign of authority of a dog that shows itself dominant.
  • Upright tail and turned over the back: Shows trust and self-control.
  • Downward and close to the hind legs: If its extremities are rigid and it wags its tail slightly, it shows "I'm not feeling well". If its legs are slightly bent it's a sign on insecurity.
  • Tail hidden between its legs: Fear or submission.
  • Raised tail and slow and rhythmic movement: The dog is on guard.
  • Wagging lightly: Is their normal welcome.
  • Wagging with broad circles: "I like you". When two dogs are mock fighting this movement confirms it's a game.
  • Wagging at a slow speed: When it's being trained it means "I'm trying to understand you, I want to know what you're saying but I don't understand yet". Once it finally understands, the dog wags its tail faster.
  • Short and slow movements: Shows that it's pleased. Sometimes its only wags its tail a few times when it's on the floor.
  • Wagging fast: Excitement to a desired activity or object.

Does your dog have a broken tail?

Has your dog sustained an injury to his tail?

Learn more about what to do if you suspect an injury to your dog’s tail.

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