Tail Wagging: What Does This Mean?

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Tail Wagging: What Does This Mean?

What Is My Dog’s Tail Movement Indicating?

I have always wondered what that meant. You see the way the tail is no longer curled? Interesting. What is she saying by draping the tail behind her that way? She looks as if she is wearing a gown at times. It’s beautiful. She usually does this mid-afternoon just before she stretches out after crossing the entire length of the room.

Science says that we have a lot to learn from our doggy companions. Since this probably isn’t the first time someone has asked themself this question, I set out to find whatever reading materials I could pick up on the subject. I found that many people had studied the dog’s tail and what these particular motions meant. Since dogs are better masters of non-verbal communications, understanding their body language is a must.

I believe that understanding Fido’s body language is the smart thing to do. It can enhance the bond between pet parent and pooch, and could also mean less mishaps due to misreading a situation. Mistaking the dog’s posture for cute and welcoming versus nervous or threatened could lead to bites! And you don’t want that.

Well. I am no expert. Not just yet. But I do have a healthy interest in the subject and am willing to expand my knowledge base on the subject of the dogs. Let’s find out why those tails are wagging.

Stiff Tails

When dogs focus and are really paying attention their tails are typically held up high or even horizontally. But don’t take my word for it. You do also have to watch the rest of its body for what mood it may be in. It could be exploring. Head down and nose to the ground. It could also be agitated. Does the dog seem more restless? Maybe there is something in your environment that it finds threatening – bunnies, squirrels, groundhogs, or a stranger.

Wagging Tails

Well of course I am happy to see you! It’s an indication of happiness and most likely your favorite assurance from your pet that you are welcome to approach and interact with them.

While we love the warm welcome, it may not always be the case. A nervous doggy can also be in the state of wagging its tail. A wagging dog tail can mean the dog is anxious too. Did you know that your dog wags their tail towards the left more so than the right if it feels that it may be met with confrontation? Other body movements that are indicators of stress and anxiety in the presence of wagging tails are raised hairs on the back of the dog running the length of the spine and ears that are pinned back.

Common sense? Not for everyone. This requires practice. Practice observing your dog’s movements and body language for just 5 minutes per day, under different conditions. Notice anything different? Great! You are doing well and have taken your first steps towards being ahead of the game in the event of surprises. You are much less likely to be surprised by what seems arbitrary to you but is major to your doggy during your walks, dog park visits, and shopping trips.

Knowing well its body language gives you the advantage. That knowledge allows you to modify your handling technique and lends itself to a well-behaved dog. That’s fantastic for everyone and only took a few minutes daily to learn.

My Dog’s Tail Is Closely Docked…Now What?

A dog’s tail is really an extension of their spine. It’s used for balance. The tail assists the dog with propulsion when jumping and leaping, with balancing on narrow pathways and trails, and with flotation while in the water – well, the dog is buoyant but the tail will be helping them move through the waters better.

So, if you love the look of the short tail and have made the decision to alter one of their most important tools used for communication purposes, what should you do? Should you watch for something other than tail wagging to give you clues on the state of your dog? Sure.

Your doggy will still be wagging its little tail turned stump but that will obviously be much more difficult to interpret what they mean by those type movements. Dog trainers run into this issue all of the time. Instead, the dog trainers watch the overall expressiveness of the dog’s body and then are cautious … righteously so…on getting close to the dog for the first time.

Need more resources? Check out Body Language by Cesar Milan.

From Our Table

Let’s snack! Sophia is such a spoiled girl and its totally my fault. Sometimes these treats are simply irresistible. Supermarket finds are still worth it and today’s featured product is a cutie.

During a recent trip to the local grocer, a sale item with a great star-rating caught my eye. Pet parents agree that Canine Carry Outs are a hit. Check out the Amazon.com reviews to discover the vibe of these treats. I have to say these are no joke.

One of the more endearing traits of my Mini Schnauzer is that she regularly enjoys taking her treats way from the dish. She invariably carries the chunkier pieces of her meal out of the kitchen. The Canine Carry Outs treats are perfect for her urge to carry her treat pieces away. These fun treats are available in a playful variety of flavors and shapes. Sophia tried Hot Dog Minis and loved them. And pet parents…these really do have the look of itty bitty franks and buns.

This is not what you’d select if you are on the campaign trail for the most nutritious dog food snack. No! Not harmful, fun-sized, economical, change of pace, try something different type snack? Yes! What you are going to get is plenty of snacks for the money which are soft and chewy and will help you to train and treat your pet. Remember – don’t pick these up if you are seeking the healthiest possible options. Here are the first five ingredients:

Wheat Flour, Beef, Soy Flour, Corn Syrup, Water

After that, the product contains mostly food coloring and preservatives. What I enjoyed the most is the packaging. This product is really well sealed into its airtight ziploc packaging. I am totally jazzed about this. For freshness, its tough to beat those brands employing good quality packaging to keep their product fresh. I have to put a little muscle into it to get the package open, actually. Because I shop online primarily, the prices on these snacks tend to be higher. Going in to the stores and finding them at a lower price point is a special surprise. At the grocer where I shop, these were available in the 4.5 oz size only. As such, they are most economically priced.

My favorite places for picking these up online are chewy.com and amazon.com. At Amazon pet parents may purchase the variety pack and enjoy a little bit of everything the line is offering. Their popular variety pack offerings include Chicken, Bacon, Beef, Burger Minis, Beef & Bacon, and then Steak Bites. I will not spoil it for you. Want the price?

Click here for Amazon.

And here for Chewy.

Select the From Our Table Image to get the review at YouTube.



With Canine Carry Outs it was easy to stay above a 4.0 satisfaction rating because these scored highly. I mean it…most likely your furry friend will enjoy them at a rating of 4.7 for Flavor and for Freshness. That’s a double 4.7 stars. In the value for money category, the score slips to 4.2 stars. I’d be willing to bet that those low scores are from pet parents who wanted more treats in the bag, and or an even lower price for what they did receive. Now, I know that my opinion on this may teeter on unpopular but I am just saying…a sale discount or special promotion is a fair pricing adjustment if a pet parent is seeking a little more for less. In fact, I found them to be extremely reasonably priced in the store in person. Purchasing multiples is the name of the game. Especially if you are entering the market with access to the brand’s 4.5 oz size.




Anyways, I am glad that you simply stopped by.

Try these treats out and then leave us a comment. I’d love to know what your thoughts were on this item. Until next time…

Pet Insurance Plan



Happy Pet Parenting,






  1. For me, this article is perhaps the first of its kind, I learned a lot.
    A friend of mine has a wolf dog, a female, and I stayed with them for 2 weeks, during which time I learned a lot; he was about to bite me about 3 times.
    How good it was if I had that knowledge then.
    Great to know the language of the dog’s body and tail.
    I learned to feed them, great thing, I thought it was simple but it is not.
    Reading this blog carefully, I think I can become more adept at behaving with a dog.

  2. Hi Jacquelyn,

    One more post with so much of practical knowledge. The pictorial depiction of the tail movement is a ready reckoner of what your dog wants to communicate with you. I had never observed this deep buy with your guide I am finding interest in what a dog wants to “say”.

    You are a great dog lover and appreciate your power of observation.

    Do keep writing such articles.

    Best Regards,


  3. Oh my! I had no idea that a dog’s tail could hold so many messages. I have a dog, Olivia, whom I adopted in the beginning of 2020 before the pandemic hit, and this girl is wagging her tail 98% of the day. I have noticed the difference when it’s a happy wag because she’s so happy and running around while trying to get my attention and jumping on me vs. when other people approach her (my dad, grandma, or anyone else that she knows) and it’s kind of a nervous wag. She still wags her tail but it’s down and her ears fall down (if that makes sense lol). She always comes to me for reassurance and once I’ve spoken in that baby voice we all use with our fur babies, and she sees that it’s nothing to be afraid of, then she’s more trusting. I don’t understand why she does that with them – we all live in the same house. Of course, she’s always with me because she’s my baby, but still. I love her and I love getting to know a little bit more of what her body language might be telling me. Thank you for this article and the knowledge provided!

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