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Understand Your Dog's Tail Language

by Higooga Team on March 08, 2022
Understand Dog's Tail Language | Higooga Blog

Unlike cats, dogs like to communicate their feelings and intensify the way they feel through the speed of their wagging tail. If you're a dog owner, you have probably noticed that whenever your dog is excited or happy, for example, their tail wags at full speed or is completely stiff. It is interesting how there are a lot of tail movements a dog does that you can use to try to figure out what makes him feel a certain way. Here are seven ways to read your dog's tail language.

Understand Dog's Tail Language | Higooga Blog

Wagging Stiffly

When he's in the middle of this behavior, it's important to notice the trigger. For example, if he's wagging his tail stiffly and jumping, the cause is most likely a positive one, such as if someone he knows is approaching. However, if he's wagging his tail stiffly and sticking his rump in the air, the cause is most likely a negative one, such as if someone he doesn't recognize or doesn't like is approaching. Knowing whether something positive or negative is causing his arousal can help you understand how to react.


Held horizontally

A dog with its tail straight out is alert or perhaps intrigued by something around them. When traditional hunting dog breeds like pointers or setters point at an animal or object, they also keep their tails straight out.

Understand Dog's Tail Language | Higooga Blog

Sudden tail raise

When a dog's tail moves from a horizontal to a vertical or raised position, it may suggest that he is feeling hostile.

Lowered or tucked

When dogs are terrified or unhappy, they will bury their tails between their legs. This could be a posture they adopt after doing something wrong, such as peeing in the house and being embarrassed. They may also put their tail between their legs if they've been chastised. When dogs are afraid of anything, they will also assume this position. If this is the case, assure them that everything will be fine.

Big and broad

Every night when you go home from work, you're likely to witness this wag. Your dog greets you with a large circle of a wagging tail. He'll also have a subservient grin and soft open lips while loosely shaking his entire body.

Understand Dog's Tail Language | Higooga Blog


When a dog's tail wags gently, it might indicate a variety of things. The first could suggest that they're offering their permission to something or someone new with trepidation. If they're meeting a new dog, it could indicate that they're undecided about whether to accept the beta or alpha role. If this is the case, take them out of the setting until their tail fully begins to wag.


Take a dog's rapid, energetic, nearly shaking tail as an indication of anxiety and/or aggression. At any minute, the dog may jump into action. Anyone should avoid this highly stimulated dog until it calms down.