I learned from a veterinary consultant that tail-wagging does not always denote excitement or joy, but many other feelings, including protectiveness, anxiety, curiosity, geniality, or fascination.
Previously, I thought my ten-year-old beagle was just an overenthusiastic dog who forcefully wags her tail and paws at my calves when she’s overjoyed to see me, but I observed that she also does these movements when barking or growling at strangers or animals. According to a vet specializing in behaviorism, one can identify our dog’s exact emotion by observing the rate, position, and circumstance of their tail-wagging.
- The faster the wag, the higher the emotional intensity, and vice-versa.
- The position of their tails correlates with their brain hemispheres.
- Your dog’s right-sided wags connote positive feelings while their left-sided wags connote negative feelings.
- When tails are upright, dogs take a commanding or aggressive stance. When downward, they’re yielding or communicating acceptance.
- Just as humans have complex and unique ways of communication, so also our dogs.
- One dog may wag and growl when frustrated and angry while another may wag and bare his or her teeth for the same reason.
If we notice tense muscles, forward pinned ears, or dilated pupils, together with tail wagging, one should not interpret these to mean excitement. Instead, we should pay attention to the situation and the combination of expressions that our dog is exhibiting. The key here is better understanding and sensitivity to their actions.