Dog Tail Wags -
What Does it Mean?

Dog tail wag, what does it mean?

When you see a dog wagging his tail, it does not necessarily mean that he is happy.  Canines exhibit many variations of the “tail wag” and the meanings are quite diverse. In short, inside the canine world tail wagging is the best method of communication.

Tail Wagging is like a form of dog language. Like human babies, pups must learn their language. Pups communicate with their mother and siblings through the use of this method. A tail wag might mean that he’s tired or that he’s hungry.

Tail Wagging as a form of communication

Unlike humans who use vocabulary to convey their messages, dogs rely on their body language to accomplish this task.

Tail wagging is a form of that body language. A dog’s vision is adjusted more to movement than to colors. Therefore a dog quickly recognizes different tail wags.

Different Meanings of the Dog Tail Wag

Before learning the meaning of different tail wags, we must understand as to what is the natural position of a dog tail.

Most dogs have tails that are straight and hanging down their heels. Although there are exceptions to this rule, however most breeds exhibit this rule in relaxed mode.

Position of the Tail

  • Readiness or anxiety

While alert, dogs erect their ears up and raise the tails. This position intimates that they are attentive and ready.

  • Negotiation

When a dog stops tail wagging and freezes, it might mean that he wants to avert a threat without being aggressive.

  • Aggressiveness

 When a tail goes from a neutral state to a vertical position. It might indicate that the dog is aggressive. The higher the tail, the larger the threat.

  • Submission

When a tail goes from a neutral position to a more hanging position, it means that the dog is submissive and not a threat. If the tail is tucked between the legs, then the dog is frightened. He senses a threat and is requesting not to be harmed.

  • Joyfulness

When a dog is joyful, he carries his tail in a slightly raised position and supplements it with a healthy wag. You can encourage their playful behavior by offering them some all-natural dog treats.

Wagging speeds

  • Excitement

 Fast wagging means an extremely excited dog. The wagging may fluctuate from slow to extremely fast. 

  • Insecurity

If a dog is a little careful about meeting a new person or another dog, he may wag his tail ever so slightly to show that he is hesitant.

  • Friendliness.

A  friendly dog will wag his tail more openly and even wiggle his hips, both at the same time.

  • Aggressiveness

 A dog holding his tail vertically and wagging fast might be a threat. So take extreme caution in these types of situations.

CBD is a fantastic solution that may calm down dogs when they are aggressive. Consult with your vet and consider investing in some dog-friendly CBD tinctures to get them to relax and feel better.

Communication of a Tailless Dog

Dogs without tails also communicate but have certain limitations. They usually rely on the use of other body parts like ear positions, facial expressions, and different body postures.


While dogs are not able to speak human they still communicate very efficiently. Tail wagging improves their ability to interact. Ironically dogs don’t talk to themselves. However, they will wag their tails in front of humans and other dogs.

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