A Wagging Tail

One thing all dogs have in common at birth is a cute tail that will wag and communicate very effectively about how your dog is feeling at any given moment.


  • The tail is part of the spine of the dog, however, it is flexible and has its own discs and muscles that differ from those in the body.


  • A puppy will only start wagging his tail from about six weeks old.


  • A dog’s tail plays a very important role in balance. It also acts as a rudder in dogs that swim, including Retrievers.


  • The tail, when held high, helps release scent from the anal glands, and the swish of the tail disperses the scent into the air.


  • A dog that is afraid will hold its tail low between its legs, in a submissive pose that covers the anal glands. This is a sign of vulnerability.


  • Studies reported by Animal Planet have shown that dogs don’t wag their tails when they are on their own. In fact, they only wag when they are on the company of humans, other dogs, and perhaps other furry friends like cats. What does this tell us? The wagging tail is a communicative social cue. It also means that a dog with a docked or otherwise missing tail is compromised when it comes to effective communication.


  • Dogs have different wags for differing circumstances. A swishing, broad wag is a sign of friendliness and welcome, whereas a high-held tail making short, sharp wags is potentially a display of a threat. A slight wag when meeting somebody new (human or dog) is a sign of hesitant greeting, while a slow, low wag is neutral; the dog is not anxious, nor is he excited.


  • A tail that wags more to the dog’s right indicates that he is happy and relaxed, whereas a tail wagging more to the left indicates nervousness. This is very clear to other dogs.


  • Why do dogs chase their own tail? Reasons may include OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), curiosity, boredom, anxiety, prey drive and flea infestation.


  • Dead Tail is a condition that can affect any dog but is more common in Retrievers, Beagles, Pointers, Setters, and Foxhounds. More common in younger dogs, it is also known as limber, sprung, broken, sprained, cold, and frozen tail. The tail hangs limp and flaccid. It is caused by a strain, spasm, or sprain of the muscles that allow the tail to wag, often as a result of swimming.


  • Tail symptoms can also arise from lower spinal issues, tail trauma, and prostate disease in male dogs.


Your dog grooming service should include your dog’s tail! This includes bathing, trimming, and brushing. Call Urban Paws in Yarraville for all your dog grooming needs!


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Vic 3013, Australia

16 Dowsett St, South Geelong
Vic 3220, Australia

03 9077 0562

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