Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Body Language - The Tail

There is something so heart warming when your dog greets you with a wagging tail. I consider myself very lucky to have that  wonderful feeling every day.

Your dog will communicate everything from "I'm confident" to "I'm frightened" with the position of her tail.

If your dog has a short nubby tail, either due to nature or it being altered you will have to rely more on other body parts or the body as a whole.  And generally speaking you should be doing this anyway. However observing the tail alone can give you a good indication what's going on. Generally the higher the tail is the more confident the dog.

Tail positioning:

  • High - indicates a confident dog
  • Straight out - indicates an alert dog
  • Low - indicates a relaxed dog
  • Between the legs - indicates a fearful dog

Tail wagging:

Most people think of a dog with a wagging tail as happy. This is often true, however not all the time. If the rest of the dog's body, ears and mouth are relaxed that is a good indication of a happy dog. But if the dog's body and features are tense and rigid the dog is unsure, tense or uncomfortable.

The dog on the left looks happy to see whoever she is walking towards. The body, mouth and ears and are relaxed and natural looking.

The dog on the right looks a little more unsure and tense. If this dog's tail were wagging you shouldn't assume it's friendly. She might be guarding something or wary of the situation.  Either way it's best not to approach.

Can you read your dog's tail?

1 comment:

  1. There are probably few people who haven't seen a dog wagging his tail, and most of the time it's obvious what the dog is trying to tell you with this kind of body language.A friendly or curious dog’s tail will be wagging in wide sweeps, hanging down. Its ears are down and its fur is smooth along its shoulders and back.