The tales of a dog’s tail are roadmaps to communication. Each movement (or stillness) barks volumes! We just need to “speak tail” to interpret the meaning behind each wag.
When it comes to non-verbal communication, Harley is the wizard #pawsdown. He has always fascinated me by his facial expressions and physical mannerism. Early in our relationship he converted me as a believer that dogs are very intuitive AND have the ability to master deductive reasoning.
My interest in the rear end of a dog started as I read a very interesting book about understanding/interpreting a dog’s body language.
Spending time with the family during the holiday’s I became obsessed with Jaxson’s tail. Not so much that it moved all the time, but more so on how it moved.
For years I always thought –
a wagging tail was a sign that a dog was happy to see you
That is not always the case.
WATCH THE TAIL –
When it comes to communication we as humans listen, but dogs watch.
The next time you see your dog’s tail move, pay close attention to the activity which triggered the movement, and then study how the tail wagged. Your dog’s tail talks to us – we just need to understand how to interpret it…
Whole tail wagging with enthusiasm: happy and excited!
Held low, with the tip wagging very fast: anxious
High, sweeping slowly from side to side: alert
Between the legs, hunched posture: anxious and frightened
Stiff and high, staring or growling: aggressive
My goal is to use these indicators when it comes to therapy work. Often Jaxson is asked to visit a patient and he has always complied. Now I study his tail when we enter a room. I want to make sure he is genuinely excited and open to more of this stranger’s affection vs. putting up with it wanting to please me.
I try to think of it this way – his tail is one sure way of letting me know he’d rather not participate or extend a visit. #itisathing
THE TALE OF THE TAIL –
Even though Harley and Jaxson are both Goldendoodles, their normal/natural tail positions differ. Harley is the unique one (of course) his tail hangs limp and down – that’s his natural look. Jax is all over the place, his tail typically never really stays still #propellertail
The speed in which a tail wags tells a tale too! –
Canine “tail talk” is so complex that even the direction of the wagging is significant. Studies show that dogs wag their tails to the right when they are happy or confident and to the left when they are frightened. Interestingly, there is a scientific reason for this. The left side of the rain controls movement on the right side of the body and vice versa. Therefore the left brain is engaged when the tail wags to the right and the right brain causes the tail to move to the left. Since the left side of the brain is associated with positive feelings (like love and serenity,) a happy dog wags his tail to the right Conversely, the right half of the brain is associated with negative feelings like fear and depression, so a frightened dog wags his tail to the left.Resource: VCA Animal Hospital
WHAT’S MY DOG THINKING? –
When I catch one of them staring at me from across the room, I can’t help but ask myself –
What’s my dog thinking?
To really understand them is to study their behavior. if I work hard at that, I believe it will open up this mysterious window of understanding how to give them a happy life! Right now I think they’re pretty content living with me AND hanging out at work.
See (and hear) for yourself as Jaxson’s tail tells his own story beating on the side of the door frame when Matt comes into the office…
Tell us – what do you know about your dog’s tales?
A dog wags his tail with his heart ❤️