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Our dog's tail, how does it speak to us?

La cola de nuestro perro, ¿Cómo nos habla con ella?

Lobo Azul |

These loving and faithful little furry friends can't talk like humans, but they have their own way of communicating. Dogs express their emotions through the fascinating body language they have: erection of their fur, their gaze when their pupils contract or dilate, movements of their ears, certain postures, tremors and their barking. And one of the most expressive parts of its body is its tail . The canine's tail is one of the elements they use to interact and socialize with the other inhabitants of their environment. At the same time, human beings and other animals learn to recognize the emotions that the dog experiences through the movement of its tail .
the dog and its tail
Dogs have a great capacity to emit visual signals with information that is quite complex to understand. However, some scientists and animal behavior specialists have carried out several studies in which they have found a close relationship between tail movements and the different moods of dogs . They have studied each movement in order to decipher its meaning. The conclusions have shown that animals control their movements in a similar way to human beings, that is, that our dear canine friends "control the muscles on the left side of their tail with the right side of their brain, and vice versa." At the same time, they have discovered that negative feelings are expressed by movements to the left, while positive feelings incline them to move to the right.

Meaning of the different positions of the tail

Normally, with the movement of the tail, dogs express excitement and, the greater the movement, the greater the excitement. On the other hand, the nuances given to the movement of the tail depend on the breed and size, which are specific to each morphology. In any case, both the movement and the position will indicate the reason for its excitement.
canine body communication
These are some of the most common positions that dogs adopt with their tail :
  • Quick movements : This behavior can mean a strong emotion of anxiety, happiness, or nervousness.
  • Circular movements : When your furry friend is waving his tail in large circles, these types of movements mean he is having fun, whether he is playing with people or other animals. At that moment, he does not feel dominant or submissive, he just wants to have fun and is expressing joy and invitation to continue the game.
  • Horizontal position : If the dog's tail is in an extended, horizontal but not completely rigid posture, it is transmitting attention.
  • Upright position or fully raised tail : in this case, your dog will be expressing dominance and wants to demonstrate his power, security and authority when surrounded by other dogs.
  • Tail down with movements near the legs : in this case, insecurity and anxiety on the part of the animal are manifested. Even if he tends to move it to the left, it is a sign that he feels threatened.
  • Position of the tail up but curved towards the back : it should not be confused with the previous position, since the tail upright and directed slightly towards the back implies a feeling of tranquility and confidence.
  • Tail down and relaxed position : This is the most common position for a dog. When its tail is lowered but does not reach its legs, the animal is expressing tranquility. It is a sign that you are calm, relaxed and without any worries.
  • Position near the legs : when the dog has its tail low but very close to the legs, it is expressing a state of insecurity.
  • Position of the tail between the legs : if the canine is afraid, by keeping the tail between the legs it is expressing submission. He is stating that he is not the dominant one in that situation.
  • Tail tense in a completely rigid position : if it is extended and horizontal, your furry friend is trying to intimidate an intruder who is invading his territory. In these cases, their hair also tends to stand on end. And, if it also tends to move its tail to the left, it means that the dog is analyzing another unknown dog. This position of the tail is part of a process of getting to know another animal. It is part of the rite of hierarchy between animals of the same species.
  • Waving position : If the dog wags its tail slightly, it is waving.

Beyond the wagging tail

Dogs show other types of behavior with their tail . They not only use it to communicate their emotions, but they play with it. It may be the case that you see your dog chasing its tail . This situation is sometimes normal, especially if they are puppies, since they simply do it when they feel bored. This is a way they use to entertain themselves, and even more so, when pets realize that their owners have fun watching them try to catch their tail. So, they do it with the aim of attracting the attention of their owner.
dog chasing its tail
On the other hand, you should know that this behavior with the tail can be caused by other reasons that should be paid attention to. For example, the reason may come from a parasite that is bothering you and causing some illness. Also, in some breeds such as the German Shepherd, this excessively repetitive behavior can be a sign of stress and frustration, and they use it to reduce those unpleasant sensations. And, the most disturbing reason, is a mental illness called “ canine compulsive disorder ,” which is similar to the obsessive-compulsive disorder known as OCD in humans. Due to the possible alarming causes, we recommend that you pay special attention to your pet when he insistently chases his tail, and if necessary, go to a dog behaviorist.
dog tail

Don't abuse your dog's tail

As we have mentioned, a dog's tail is one of its most important elements to express its emotions. Therefore, we recommend that, before making a sad and painful mistake for your beloved and faithful friend simply for aesthetic reasons, you think that by cutting a dog's tail you are cutting off the capacity for communication and relationship that is maintained between you and him. If you found this post interesting, you can also read these:
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