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Why do dogs wag their tails? – Here’s what we know!

Our dogs are our beloved creatures, who we do everything to take good care of. As canines cannot speak, they communicate with the other person using their body language. Now, for other dogs, determining their pal’s body language and determining how they feel is not an issue. However, for humans, a huge problem arises as they can’t tell how their dog is feeling.

This problem also translates to problems like, not being able to tell when your pup is in pain or feeling sick. Hence, it is up to us to notice changes in our dog’s behavior and get to the root cause of it. While humans use verbal means to communicate with one another, dogs use body language. They use eye position, posture, body movement, and facial expressions to try and communicate how they feel.

Body Language

When you are observing the body language of your dog, you need to pay attention to what it is trying to communicate. When you do observe them, you need to not just look at body language, but the entire dog. You need to also take into consideration what the context is for everything.

There are five basic groups that dogs use as communication skills. However, it is not set that a certain behavior means a certain thing. A dog can demonstrate more than one of these groupings, in response to a situation.

Fearful communication

When a dog is afraid, they will react to a particular thing or event making them afraid with their whole body. There won’t be one single sign but a combination of them. Your dog may lick its lips, even if it’s not hungry, or yawn, even if it does not want to sleep. It is possible that your dog may shake or tremble, not make eye contact, or lean back.

All these signs signal the fact that your dog may be fearful of something. If your dog is not eating food, it could be possible that it is hesitating to approach its food bowl, which could mean that your dog is scared of something.

In such cases, read the environment and take notice of any potential harm that may be scaring your dog.

Relaxed communication

Who doesn’t love to see that their dog is fully relaxed and comfortable? If a dog is fully satisfied with where it is and what it is doing, it won’t have any care in the world. In fact, it may appear as if your dog has a grin on its face.

Your dog’s ears and head are in a simple, neutral position. You will even observe that the body is fully loose and there is no tension and the eyes are soft. It is possible that your dog is wagging its tailback or forth or in a circle. Often, your dog is lying down or in a position called the ‘frog position’.

Anxious Communication

Dogs become stressed even at the slightest change in their routine. They get anxious. Animals love following a routine and have everything scheduled for them.

An anxious dog includes lack of focus, pacing, panting and the signs are similar to that of a scared dog. Such dogs will also use vocalization as a sign to communicate with you.

Arousal Communication

If you have ever been to a dog shelter, you may have seen a dog exhibiting this behavior. The reason why a dog is aroused could be due to many reasons, like age (adolescence), personality, and confinement.

Arousal is a sign that your dog likes either a person or a toy. However, it can also be that they are in an unpleasant environment.

So, one body movement could mean multiple things. Hence, as dog owners, it is important that you always take into consideration the context.

Wagging tail

One of the most commonly misunderstood body gestures is the wagging of a dog’s tail. A dog’s tail is the best way to determine its mood.

A low tail that is between the legs is an indication of anxiety, submission, and fear. On the other hand, wagging of the tail but slowly could mean that your dog is suspicious about the entire situation. On the other, hand, if your dog has its tail up high and straight, then it means they are intrigued. When this happens, it means that your dog saw something which piqued its interest.

Wagging of your dog’s tail could mean that either he is excited and happy or anxious and stressed. According to research, if your dog is wagging his tail on the right side, it means it is relaxed. On the left side, it means that your dog is anxious.

So, if you are about to pet someone else’s dog, don’t think the wagging tail means the dog is alright with it. Before doing so, ask the owner if it is okay to pet the dog. It is possible that the dog is wagging its tail because of anxiety over seeing someone unfamiliar.

For ages, a wagging tail has been perceived as a sign of friendliness, but that is not always the case. In the case of dogs, it is important that you always take into consideration the environment that the dog is in.

There is no way you can ever fully understand what your dog is trying to communicate, but reading body language will give you somewhat idea rather than you being completely clueless. If you want to know more about the body language of canines, authors and experts have penned down valuable words on the topic.

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