People frequently believe that a dog with a wagging tail is friendly, but this is not necessarily the case. There are many reasons why dogs wag their tails, including when they’re feeling aggressive. A dog can still be friendly even if its tail isn’t wagging. The kind of tail a dog has affects how well he can use it to convey his emotions. The “normal” tail of the majority of dogs hangs down to somewhere near the hock (the joint between the lower thigh and the pastern on the rear leg). Some dogs have tails that curl up and over their backs, like the pug. A small number of breeds, including the greyhound and whippet, naturally tuck their tails between their back legs. Additionally, some breeds have docked tails or naturally short bobtails.
Your dog will hold his tail in its natural position when he is at ease. He may softly wag it from side to side when he is joyful. When he greets you after being away from you, for example, his tail may wag more vigorously from side to side or even move in a circle if he is truly joyful. Your dog may hold his tail lower and may even tuck it between his back legs if he is feeling nervous or subservient. He may still wag it, though frequently more quickly than when he is at ease. He will hold his tail tightly against his abdomen if he is exceedingly terrified or submissive.
Your dog will likely keep his tail higher than usual when he is alert or excited about something. He’ll grip it rigidly and immobile. He may “flag” his tail, which refers to holding it stiff and high and moving it rigidly back and forth, if he is standing his ground or threatening someone (a person or another animal). Even though it appears that he is waving his tail, the rest of his body language makes it clear that he is not now in a welcoming mood.
A dog who grips his tail is expressing worry, uncertainty, or fear. The dog is incredibly terrified when the tail is tucked under the stomach.
The dog can only be uneasy when the tail is held slightly below the topline. The dog’s breed, level of fear, and the reinforcement or punishment of the body language signal all affect how much the tail is tucked. Some dogs, when startled, won’t tuck their tails. Although there are probably many more dogs outside of these categories who do not regularly exhibit this body language signal, Dr. Radosta has seen this in several Chow Chows and terrier breeds. To get the most correct interpretation, it is crucial to take into account all body language indicators, including the dog’s breed, the environment, and its movement.
A dog with her tail tucked and her ears pulled back is another sign of fear.
The normal tail carriage of the dog’s breed should be taken into account while interpreting tail carriage. if the breed’s typical tail carriage, as seen in the Siberian Husky, is high over the body. A dog’s unfolded tail is a symptom of tension, worry, or uncertainty in that animal.
It’s important to take into account each dog’s unique tail carriage. The dog’s usual tail carriage and its scared tail carriage are clearly visible in the photographs below. The dog’s tail is depicted in a neutral position in the first image. The dog can be seen tucking his tail in the second image as the owner reaches for him. The dog had a choke chain and leash on him constantly, and anytime he misbehaved, the owner would jerk the leash to discipline him. The dog is now scared of the owner despite the fact that he is not acting any better. He displays anxiety by tucking his tail when the owner approaches for him.
Although they don’t communicate much with their hair, dogs can provide some information through it. First off, a dog under stress or fear is more prone to shed than usual. It seems as though the fearful dog is blowing his coat when suddenly torrents of it burst out! If your dog becomes anxious when visiting the vet, you may have noticed this. Your dog’s hair is on the table, you, the doctor, and the doctor after the examination.
The behavior known as “piloerection,” or more often known as “raising the hackles,” is another way that dogs express how they are by sticking up their hair. Dogs can raise their hair anywhere along their spine, though it is typically raised above the withers (the point where the tops of the dog’s shoulder blades meet). When a dog is excited about something, their hair stands up. It feels similar to getting goosebumps. Raise hackles can be a sign of fear, rage, insecurity, unease, nervousness, or extreme excitement in a dog. It is best to proceed cautiously when approaching a dog with standing hair.
Thank you to Lisa Radosta, DVM, DACVB of Florida Veterinary Behavior Service and the ASPCA for the information above.
Why is the tail of my dog curled up between his legs?
The dog’s tail position might reveal a lot about how the dog is feeling. When a dog’s tail is wagging and perky, we can usually tell that he is content. When our dog’s tail droops and his body language exudes melancholy, we can also tell that something is wrong.
On the other hand, a peaceful, naturally calm dog will have his tail down or up (depending on the breed of dog).
However, when a dog’s tail is tucked between his knees, we must pay attention to the message he is trying to send. Continue reading as I discuss this tail behavior, warning signs to watch for, and ways to support your dog during these trying times.
What does it mean when a dog puts their tail between their legs?
Your dog will tuck his tail between his hind legs when he or she is terrified. It’s frequently an indication of surrender to other canines who terrify them or even when you’re correcting your dog.
Your dog will place his tail between his legs if he is being yelled at or tortured. I’ve also observed similar behavior in distressed dogs at rescue facilities who are still getting used to their new surroundings.
Handy Tip: This list of typical habits for rescue dogs includes the tail between the legs as well as more severe warning signals of issues.
Why does my dog put his tail between his legs when he eats?
This is typical behavior for a scared dog. Since they must concentrate on the meal and are unable to be as aware of their surroundings as normal when eating, they feel vulnerable. When eating, the tail is tucked between the legs, providing some protection.
Even when eating, a dog in a strange setting may become anxious and keep his tail tucked between his legs since he feels most vulnerable at this time.
The dog’s tummy and genitalia are sensitive parts, so when he senses danger, he naturally feels the need to defend them. He shields these most exposed areas by tucking his tail between his legs.
Understanding canine body language with their tail position
Dog owners must interpret a dog’s body language in order to comprehend what is going on with them because dogs cannot communicate with humans vocally or in their language. This includes interpreting the dog’s emotional state based on tail activity and position.
The following are some typical explanations for a dog’s tail position:
- Your dog is nervous or uneasy if its tail is pointed downward near its legs.
- Your dog is frightened and feels helpless, as evidenced by the tight-tucked tail between the hind legs. frequently denotes submission.
- The dog is not being submissive, but he is still terrified and may even decide to attack. His tail is tucked slightly between his knees.
- Your dog seems uneasy. Hold the tail just below the top line.
- Wagging tail held higher: Your dog is pleased and content, as evidenced by the large, sweeping tail motions.
- Your dog is assessing the circumstance and holding its tail down more to indicate that it is safe to be happy.
- stiff, erect tail that wags just a little: Beware! This dog is acting hostile.
- The dog is alert when its tail is horizontal and stiff and moves slightly.
- A lowered, drooping tail is a common symptom that your dog is not feeling well.
You can better understand your dog’s mood if you are aware of these many indications.
However, not every breed of dog will display the same tail language. When scared or acting submissively, terrier breeds like the Chow will not tuck their legs between their thighs.
Additionally, there is the issue of dogs without long tails. French Bulldogs are a prime example; their tails are too short and stumpy to allow them to wag them or tuck them between their legs.
Interpreting why your dog is putting his tail between his legs
While it is well knowledge that a dog may tuck his tail between his legs as a gesture of submission or out of fear, you can also decipher what the dog is truly attempting to convey by examining what has already occurred.
Your dog is apologizing
You find that your dog has stolen and destroyed your work shoes. You scream at him out of rage. You may also simply glare at him. Your dog will immediately recognize any wrongdoing on your part.
He lowers his head, wraps his tail between his legs, and looks away from you. Your dog is expressing regret for gnawing on your shoes by acting in this manner. Please pardon me.
When a dog tucks his tail between his knees, he is afraid because he is aware of his poor behavior and wants to make amends.
Your dog has made a mistake
To tell your dog that he has acted inappropriately, you don’t even need to begin reprimanding him. Your dog is probably aware that stealing that roast off the kitchen counter is wrong if he has previously caused you irritation.
He will know he is in trouble the next time he enjoys your roast. He can’t help it, though. He’ll slink away with his tail between his legs as soon as you enter the kitchen.
He acknowledges you as his leader
When a dog has acted improperly, he will yield to the pack leader. If he has had proper training to comprehend his place in the pack, you are his leader in your home.
They also correct him when the pack leader is not happy with something one of them has done.
Getting scolded by the pack leader frequently results in a dog putting his tail between his legs. It’s an act of submission and an admission of guilt for his inappropriate behavior. So, as you are correcting him, he is submitting to you and repenting of his actions.
Some dog breeds might be quite resistant to recognizing the pack leader. Dogs frequently exhibit this, including:
Why doesn’t my dog wag his tail?
The medical illness also known as acute caudal myopathy has a number of names, including limer tail syndrome. Other names for it include broken wag, swimmer’s tail, and cold tail. An affected dog’s tail will either hang loosely down or will extend straight out for two to three inches before dropping down. This disease typically goes away in a matter of days, but because it might resemble other conditions that have more severe effects, it is advised that you have your pet evaluated by a veterinary practitioner.
Acute caudal myopathy, sometimes known as “limber tail syndrome,” is a transient ailment in which a dog is unable to lift its tail, causing it to hang down limply.
When ill, do dogs tuck their tails?
Dogs communicate with one another by wagging their tails. An angry dog will have an upright or fluffed-up tail, while a happy dog will wag its tail.
The various movements and postures of a dog’s tail can reveal a lot about the animal’s emotions or the message it is attempting to convey.
There are several possible meanings for a dog’s tail between its legs. We frequently first consider causes such as fear or suffering.
Trying to figure out what’s going on might be frustrating for you as a dog owner (and perhaps even for your dog!).
But if a dog keeps tucking its tail, it can be an indication of another issue if it does it repeatedly.
Dogs do tuck their tails between their legs as a response to a variety of medical issues aside from fear or general nervousness.
How can I determine whether my dog is hurt?
If your dog is in discomfort, they might:
- demonstrate agitation.
- yell, growl, or cry out.
- Be sensitive to touch or you may dislike being handled.
- irritate you and start to snarl.
- Become more inactive, quiet, or cover up.
- Walk awkwardly or reluctantly.
- Stop eating and get depressed.
- breathe quickly and shallowly, and your heart rate is elevated.
How can you tell if your dog is passing away?
I initially assumed he had consumed something that wasn’t agreeable to him. But the following day, as he laid in the same place without eating or drinking, I started to have my doubts. And I knew when he kept lying there and kept going to the bathroom. The only thing I could do for Rex when he left us was to assure his comfort and keep an eye on him to make sure his passage wasn’t unpleasant. The first step in bidding your dog farewell is to offer as much solace and peace as you can.
It would be an understatement to say that Rex’s abrupt decline came as a surprise. I could have avoided months of regret and sorrow about how I ultimately chose to take his life if I had known then what I know now about the physical effects of death. I’d like to share what I’ve learned with you about the warning signals a dog is dying and saying goodbye to your dog when the time comes so that you do not experience the same suffering.
1) Constant Sluggishness/Disinterest
The most typical indication that the dying process has started is this. Simply not being like themselves includes lying in one place (typically in a quiet place where they don’t usually lie), showing no interest in toys or walks, and scarcely acknowledging family members. Dogs might occasionally become lethargic as a result of other health problems, but if you’ve ruled this out and it persists for more than a day, it might be time to start saying goodbye to your dog.
2) Puts Food/Drink Down
When your dog refuses food, you should be concerned because this is one of the telltale symptoms a dog is dying. If your dog is at this stage, you can give them the most delicious treat you can think of, and they will still refuse it. They’ll quit drinking water as well. This is because their organs are starting to shut down. They are no longer aware of their hunger or thirst. Give them water in a dropper or turkey baster to try and keep them hydrated. There isn’t much you can do if they won’t swallow it, though. However, a dog is not necessarily dying just because they stop eating and drinking for a day or so. First, make sure you see your vet to rule out any other medical conditions.
3) Coordination Loss
A lack of balance and motor coordination is the next of the main indicators that a dog is dying. If your dog does stand up and move around, they can appear confused or be quite shaky. While lying down, they could tremble or have seizures. Keep them in a small, calm space if you can, and take anything they might run into or knock over. When you say goodbye to your dog, you must keep them safe, provide them with a secure environment, and provide them with any support they require.
A dog who is dying will lie still and not even get up to go potty. Possibly they have diarrhea. Another indication that a dog is dying is this. It indicates that the internal organs of your dog are shutting down. You must keep them clean and dry at this time, along with their bed.
5) Difficulty Breathing
In the last stages, many dogs exhibit breathing problems. Long pauses between breaths may indicate irregular breathing on their part. These are some of the most difficult times since you are aware of their pain and are powerless to intervene. Saying farewell to your dog during these traumatic hours entails accepting that you have no control over this. It cannot be stopped.
6) Looking for Solace
The final and most tragic of the primary symptoms that a dog is dying is this. Some dogs may recognize when their time has come and will seek solace from their owners. Staying with your dog during these final hours and soothing them with gentle strokes and a calm voice are part of saying goodbye to your dog with love and grace. Take a break from your work or whatever else you are doing. Don’t leave your dog to face death on his own.
Despite how challenging it may be, try to maintain your composure. Try your best to maintain your composure to avoid upsetting your dog.