Why Do Dogs Wag Their Tail?

Ashley | 09 - 08 - 2020
Why Do Dogs Wag Their Tail

Everytime you reach home after a full day of work, seeing your dog welcoming you with a wagging tail always makes you happy. But if you would have noticed there is a slight difference in the way it wags its tail at different occasions. What does it mean if your dogs wail their cute little tails? Does it mean that he/she is happy? Does it mean he/she likes you? Animals express their feelings through gestures and actions, finding out what their gestures mean is always exciting if you love animals. Especially tail wagging is one of the most common gestures of dogs. If you are a dog-lover, you might be confused about what your dog feels or says by wagging their tails. Why do dogs wag their tail? what does it mean when a dog wags its tail? and how do dogs wag their tails? These are some common questions every dog owner would have. Let’s discuss them in detail.


A study in 2007 shows that tail wagging might tell you how your dog feels.  It is commonly believed that tail wagging is an indication of the dogs being happy. But that might not be the only reason why they wag their tails. Dogs may wag their tails if they are happy, excited, nervous, threatened, and anxious. Dogs might not wag their tails when they are relaxed and in resting position. If a dog is frightened or submissive, it might wag its tail a little down between its legs. 

1. Can Dogs Control Their Tails?
  • A. Yes
  • B. No

Some dogs have naturally straight and curly tails and some might have droopy tails. It totally depends on what breed the dog is. If a dog is excited and happy, it wags its tails by raising it higher and at a faster pace. Wagging tail in a higher position means they are in a playful stance and want you to throw a ball and play with them. A straight and stiff tail means the aggressive nature or mood of the dogs. 

Research also says that dogs often communicate with other dogs by wagging their tails. The position of the tail while wagging also says a lot. A wagging tail in a little right is believed to express positive emotions whereas, the wagging tail in the left side indicates more negative emotions. Many studies also show that in humans, the left side of the brain controls positive emotions and the right side of the brain controls negative emotions. But, in animals, it is a little different. The left hemisphere of the brain controls the right side of the body and the right hemisphere of the brain controls the left side of the body. This is seen as a major reason for the varying positions while tail wagging. 

Dogs not only wag their tails to communicate but also to maintain stability while walking on narrow surfaces. While wagging their tails dogs also spread their scent from their anal glands. Often a higher wagging tail indicates more scent is released and a lower wagging tail indicates that the dog is shy to express their scent. An ASPCA expert Dr. Stephen Zawistowski advises to think of tail wagging as a smile.

Can Dogs Control Their Tails?

Tail wagging is voluntary in animals because they need to have control over their activities, especially while walking in narrow pathways. Your dogs have full control over their tail wagging. Whether they want to wag left or right or just want to hold straight they can do it voluntarily. 

Conclusion: Tail wagging does not mean that the dog is friendly. It is always safe to have a word with its owner before allowing your children to play with the dogs as they are the main victims of ferocious dog bites.

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