Most of us believe that dogs wag their tails when they are happy or excited. But pet owners who have stayed with their pet dogs for a while feel that’s there is more to dogs wagging their tails. More research into the matter brought out the fact that dogs wag their tails in order to communicate. Let’s see and in-depth insight into the theory.


Some behavioral experts feel that dogs wag their tails when they need to convey their emotions to humans, other dogs or other animals. They use it as a form of communication. They found out that dogs never wagged their tails when they were alone. Some experts even equate the wagging of tails in dogs to smiling or nodding of heads in humans. Their tails are the most expressive parts of their bodies just like humans have faces.

Dogs’ eyes are very sensitive to any kind of movement and they notice a wagging tail in other dogs first and much more than a slight change in their expression.

Different tail positions have different meanings:

Dogs keep their tails in a natural position when they are in a relaxed mood. It is down when they are sulking and up in the air when they are excited. If a dog brings its tail beneath its body, it might mean that he is nervous. They have a scent gland near their anus which secretes their scents to make others aware of their presence. Hiding their glands with their tails they want to remain in undetected as they are not sure of the situation. A tail held high in the air indicates aggression or curiosity.

Directions and Speeds of wagging tails have different meanings too:

The left side of a dog’s brain promotes the feelings of happiness, warmth and familiarity while the right side promotes fear and uncertainty. Sides of the brain control opposite sides of the body. Judging by the side of the tail wagging tail, the owner can ascertain the dog’s current state of mind.

Similarly, a tail which is wagging at a fast speed usually indicates excitement and happiness and slow wagging might ascertain feelings of negativity or hostility.

The owners should relax their dogs if they find their tails wagging slowly in the right direction.

Other signs:

If a dog holds his tail vertically high with a slight wag at its tip only, it could mean that he is aroused. If a dog is wagging his tail towards the left with the tail kept underneath their body, it might mean that they are concerned about something and are unsure. This could mean a new person barging in their territory or another animal.

A good dog owner will always observe the body language of his dog to ascertain how he conveys his emotions and is quick to understand in times of emergency or an out of ordinary situation. A wagging tail does not necessarily mean a happy dog and your dog might be wanting to convey something else to you.