Here’s Exactly What It Means When Your Dog Wags Its Tail This Common Way


Dogs with long tails indeed have a tale to tell, but do you know what it is? Here are a few ABC’s to help you understand their wagging appendage better. 

Long Tails Are Attention Getters

tail up means a happy alert dog

Look at me! A dog’s tail is the first indicator of his mood. How many times has your dog’s long tail woken you up from a perfect nap? Long tails are like gongs when they pound a sofa with enthusiasm, letting you know they see you. 

One thing to remember though, a wagging tail isn’t always an indication of happiness to a dog. They wag to spread their scent (see supracaudal glands below). A high tail can also mean your dog is on high alert. 

When hunting dogs go on point, they draw your attention to the ground in front of them. They smell the game (quail, grouse, etc.) up ahead, so they stop, lift their tails to almost curling over their backs, and hold the point. 

Long Tails Are Great For Balance

long tails are good for balance

Have you wondered how a small dog can carry such big sticks? Tail counterbalance may be the answer. Watch the next time your pup crosses a narrow section of ground, what is he doing with his tail? Similar to how we use our arms to keep us upright, dogs do the same with their long tails. A branch stretching across a shallow gulch is less tempting for a short-tailed dog. Counterbalance could be the reason why.

Long Tails Communicate To Others

Dogs may tuck their tail to communicate being submissive

Watching a dog’s tail tells us a lot. A submissive dog will keep his tail closer to the body so not to prompt another dog’s aggression. The reason may be the supracaudal glands. These glands are located alongside the tail, and lowering the tail lessens his scent around other dogs. 

More dominant dogs carry a higher tail, letting everyone downwind know who’s in charge. 

Did You Know This About Dogs’ Tails?

There you go, some fun things you may not have known about dogs’ tails.

Try these communication tips for dog owners.

What would you add to our details about tails?