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why do dogs wag their tails

Why do dogs wag their tails?

Why do dogs wag their tails and does it mean the same thing every time or is it a random dog behaviour that just shows a dog is happy? Tail wagging is indeed another way to understand how your dog is feeling or what they may be communicating. 

Why do dogs wag their tails and where does it start?

Dogs begin wagging their tail when they are about 3 or 4 weeks old. As with many body language behaviours in dogs, tail wagging is one way they use to communicate both with humans and other dogs. 

Usually, a tall waggy tail does, in fact, mean that the dog is happy or excited about something, or at least comfortable. But there are nuances to each wag, and it even differs from breed to breed or dog to dog. 

Dog tail wagging – what does it mean?

Dogs with longer bushier tails tend to sweep their tails in long broad swings to show comfort or a relaxed state. Even no wagging has a meaning it can indicate that a dog is relaxed. 

Vigorously wagging their tails means that they are excited, not just happy. This can mean a few things, a dog is happy and also unpredictable. So it could be a case of your dog being happy to meet new dogs or run after a mouse. 

Slowly wagging their tails can mean curiosity or that they are intrigued by something. 

Tail between the legs or tucked

Now this is a clear sign of discomfort. A dog with their tail tucked between their legs is either scared or nervous. It’s a way to protect themselves from anything they may deem dangerous. 

Your dog will need some space, either from other people or dogs outside or from you. Let your dog be for a while and don’t push them too hard for a cuddle if they don’t want to. 

Sometimes tucking their tail for many dogs will mean they’re trying to indicate that they are friendly. Overly excitable wagging isn’t always ideal and you should be aware of that when meeting new people and their dogs.

Dogs with docked tails

Now here many dogs will have an evident disadvantage, because a docked tail is harder to read, especially if it’s quite short. If you don’t know what a docked tail is, it’s a medical procedure where a part of the tail is cut. The reasons for doing this can be cosmetic or to prevent injury. 

Why do dogs wag their tails – different breeds

Not every fast tails wag will mean the same for all dogs. Certain breeds that have a more intense prey drive will move their tails when they catch a scent. It’s like it’s a stress ball, or rubber ducky for them sometimes. 

It’s funny to think that dogs have little mannerisms much like us when they focus. A cute behaviour that you might even see it when they look for a toy inside the house. 

Takeaways – Why do dogs wag their tails?

You might know your dog quite well and having a little more understanding of what tail wagging might mean is even more helpful. This knowledge is most useful while out walking about. You can better read your dog’s mood in company with other people or dogs, and adjust if and when needed. 

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