Three Signs that a Dog’s Wagging Tail Means Trouble

by VetDepot on January 21, 2014

dog tail wag sizedMost of the time, tail wagging is a sign of a happy dog, but this isn’t always the case. Keep a lookout for these signs that a dog’s wag of the tail is actually a warning:

  1. A slow, low wag: This type of wag can be a sign of insecurity. If a dog is feeling especially fearful, the tail may continue to wag even if it’s tucked between the legs. If you think a dog is feeling uneasy for any reason, be very cautious in introducing a new person or animal.
  2. A slow, high wag: On the opposite end of the spectrum, a slow, high wag is often a display of dominance. Caution should be used if a dog is exhibiting this behavior.  
  3. A wagging tail accompanied by barking: This is often a warning sign of aggression or, at the very least, over-excitement.

Keep in mind that dogs naturally hold their tails at different heights depending on the breed. A broad wag side to side typically indicates a happy pooch, especially if the hips are wiggling with the tail. The best way to tell if a dog’s tail wag is negative or positive is to observe his or her overall body language. Happy dogs generally seem relaxed, are holding their tail at its natural height, and aren’t showing any signs of anxiety or aggression.

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