Why do dogs wag their tails?


Editor's Picks
21 March 2018
We always think of happy dogs as ones that wag their tails. But is that why they do it? Well, Shield Total Insurance has looked into the reasons why our four-legged friends wag their tails, and you might be surprised when you discover the facts...

First, when a dog is wagging his tail it doesn’t mean that he is friendly and wants us to stroke him. It can, but you have to look at a dog’s entire posture rather than just what the tail is doing.

You need to remember that the tail serves a number of purposes. It was originally there to help with balance. It stops your pet from toppling over when he makes sudden twists and turns. It also helps him climb and leap as well as walking along anything narrow.

Of course, since the first dogs walked the earth, they’ve evolved and today their tails are used in communication. It’s something they learn to do, as if you ever watch a puppy, they don’t normally start wagging their tails till they’re a month and a half old.

As dogs grow they learn to wag their tails as a white flag when they’re losing a fight. Later in life they then wag their tails to beg for food from their parents.

So, what should we look for when a dog wags his tail? Well, the speed it’s moving and its direction are both important. Research has found that dogs’ tails go to the right when they are happy and to the left when they’re scared.

If their tail is going back and forth and it is high, then they are probably happy. If the tail is horizontal to the ground, they are being inquisitive. And if the tail is between their legs - as the saying says - they’re frightened or being submissive. A low wagging tail means your dog is worried about something.

Finally, here’s an interesting fact. Did you know that dog’s don’t wag their tails when they’re alone? There’s no need to.

For pet insurance quotes, visit the Shield Total Insurance website.