Why Is My Dogs Tail Between Her Legs

I noticed how scared Coco was the first time I dog-sat my friend’s Chihuahua. The Chihuahua, Coco, was barking a lot and slithering about the house with her tail between her legs all day long. She might be feeling afraid, is that possible? Upon reflection, there were other additional factors that contributed to Coco’s tail between her legs (I will list them all below), but let’s start with the quick and straightforward response.

Why do dogs cross their legs with their tails between them? Dogs may tuck their tails between their legs for a variety of reasons, such as being scared, anxious, or submissive. Your dog might put her tail between her legs to avoid any mating attempts or to protect her delicate area if she doesn’t want other dogs to sniff her genital region.

Why is the tail of my dog between his legs?

It’s common to observe dogs that are frightened slinking around with their tails tucked between their legs. Even in our own language, we now refer to someone as having their “tail between their legs” when they are feeling guilty or after having committed an error.

Dogs don’t always tuck their tails between their legs, though, especially when they feel guilty or afraid. They may also do so for other causes, all of which I will discuss below, beginning with a succinct response.

Why do dogs cross their legs with their tails between them? Dogs wag their tails between their legs to indicate submission or when they are afraid or worried. Fearful dogs cover their genitalia with their tails in order to prevent other dogs from sniffing their most exposed areas or to avoid mating attempts.

Why is my dog now tucking her tail?

Running and tucking the tail are typically indicators of dread in dogs; it sounds like she was scared of something. She might also be in discomfort or unwell for some other cause.

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.

Why is my dog acting strangely and dragging her tail?

A dog’s tail may be pulled down or limp for a variety of reasons. Some potential causes include:

Your dog can display signs of a muscle injury if you take it for a long walk or jog after a prolonged period of inactivity. If the tail cannot wag, it may be loose and flaccid. These symptoms can be very severe and are frequently accompanied by swelling at the base of the tail.

If your dog is particularly sensitive to cold, even exposure to cold water might cause the tail to go limp. This can happen to some dogs far more frequently than others, such as Retrievers who seem especially prone to exhibiting symptoms.

Long-term confinement of your dog in a crate that is too tiny for him could result in tail damage. This occurs when the tail has been in one position for an excessive amount of time; it is comparable to how our limbs can do when they have been in one place for a long time.

Sometimes sprains can result in tail injuries. An injury to a joint and its vicinity is referred to as a sprain. If the muscle is irritated, an acute inflammation may develop, and the tail may become limp. The tail may gradually become better over the course of a few days to the point where it is once again normal.

Your pet may hold his tail down to alleviate pain and suffering from ailments like osteoarthritis, anal inflammation, and prostate problems. A limp tail can affect any dog, though longer-tailed dogs are more likely to experience it.

Why is my dog’s tail hidden?

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.

How can you tell whether a dog is sick?

Know The Signs: Symptoms Of A Sick Dog

  • Canine warning signs Your dog may become unwell, just like you, which is an awful reality of life.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • repeated gagging, sneezing, coughing, or vomiting.
  • refusing food for more than 24 hours.
  • excessive urination or thirst.
  • gums with red or swelling.
  • a challenge to urinate.
  • runny nose or eyes.

How do dogs behave when they approach death?

Many of these symptoms are also signals of diseases that can be treated. A trip to the vet is necessary to have your dog inspected if he exhibits even one unsettling change, especially if he has been doing well up until that time. Your veterinarian can advise you as to whether your dog’s condition is treatable or whether he faces more serious difficulties based on the examination and any diagnostics that are conducted.

Senior dogs frequently suffer from diseases like diabetes mellitus, liver failure, renal failure, cancer, and heart failure. When these illnesses are detected early, they are frequently treatable, but as your dog ages and his sickness worsens, his condition may get worse. When several diseases are present at once, it can be more painful and challenging to treat them.

Extreme Weight Loss

Senior dogs frequently lose weight, and it usually begins well before death. The dog loses muscular mass as he ages because his body is less effective at digesting protein, which is a normal part of the aging process. Increased protein in the diet that is simple to digest can slow this process.

Weight loss can also result from illness, either as a result of decreased hunger brought on by illness or as a result of the body being under more stress. Cancer patients who lose a significant amount of weight are said to have cachexia. Cancer cells need a lot of energy as they perpetually divide and spread, and this need for energy can cause your dog’s muscles and fat reserves to break down.

Even if the dog is still eating substantial meals, weight loss frequently quickens as the dog gets older or sicker.

Lethargy and Fatigue

Older dogs snooze a lot. Your dog will start to sleep more and become more easily worn out as his life draws to a close. Instead of going on walks and other trips like he used to, he could decide to stay at home on his dog bed.

Poor Coordination

Your dog’s muscles and nerves lose some of their former functionality as his body matures. His coordination will deteriorate due to the decrease of muscular mass and the dysfunction of proprioceptive neurons. He might have trouble climbing stairs, getting around barriers, or slipping on non-carpeted floors. Some dogs stutter or have problems putting their feet in the right places when they walk. These symptoms are typically progressive, starting out as infrequent, minor bumbles that gradually increase in frequency and severity. Additionally, some dogs may twitch their muscles without meaning to.

By giving your dog non-slip surfaces to walk on and supporting him when walking and going outside to relieve himself, you can help your dog. Ramps are useful for climbing up and down stairs and onto and off of furniture, but they also serve as a spotter in case the user loses balance and falls off a narrow ramp.


Senior dogs often experience incontinence, or loss of control over the urine and/or intestines. There are numerous causes for this that may all be fully treated (for example, urinary incontinence due to a urinary tract infection).

Some dogs may urinate or defecate while they are asleep, while others may dribble urine or even urinate while moving around seemingly unaffected. Considering that our dogs naturally don’t want to soil the house, incontinence can be irritating to them. Never chastise your dog for having these mishaps; doing so will simply make him feel worse. Medication and more regular outside excursions can both be beneficial. As your dog gets closer to the end of his life, incontinence frequently gets worse.

Decreased Mobility

Reduced mobility is a typical aging sign that will only get worse over time. This could be as a result of discomfort brought on by arthritis or other old injuries, a loss of muscle mass that reduces strength, or confusion brought on by deteriorating vision. Changes in mobility frequently begin quietly, with the dog trotting after a ball rather than running, and then steadily worsen to the point where the dog can no longer jump onto furniture or into a car, struggle with stairs, or have difficulty getting up after a nap.

Making ensuring the food and water bowls are simple to reach and using a sling or harness to help your dog enter and exit the house are both helpful ways to assist your dog. He could require assistance standing up. Eventually, he might not be able to stand still at all and might have trouble walking.


Canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD) and human dementia share many similarities. Early indications of CCD include fussiness, irritability, and nighttime pacing. As time goes on, your dog could act as though they are strangers or that they are becoming lost around the house and yard. When rousing a sleeping dog with CCD, exercise extra caution since they may nip or snap if they get confused about their surroundings or what is happening.

Behavior Changes

When a dog is dying, they may exhibit a range of behavioral changes. From dog to dog, the specific alterations will differ, but the important thing is that they are changes.

Some dogs will become agitated and start to pace around the house, appearing unable to settle or find comfort. Others will be unusually quiet and possibly even silent. The sleeping habits of your dog may alter. He can become irritable and challenging to manage as a result of discomfort or confusion.

Some dogs become overly dependent on their owners’ comfort and company, while others become more lonely and seek out peaceful places to be by themselves. Some dogs seem to be able to sense when they are going to pass away and will wander off to a quiet spot in the house or yard to spend their last moments.

Dehydration and Not Drinking

Water is crucial for the health of your dog. He can become less interested in his water bowl as he aged or gets worse. To improve his intake of moisture, try adding water to his meal or feeding him a canned diet.

In some circumstances, it may be permissible to administer water using an oral syringe or squirt bottle (always use a fresh container that has never contained cleaning agents), but proceed with caution. Only squirt a small amount of water into your dog’s mouth at a time while aiming his muzzle downward. Too much water forced into his mouth runs the risk of entering his lungs and trachea, leading to aspiration pneumonia and choking. The moment your dog feels water on his tongue, he ought immediately begin to automatically swallow. Sucking reflex loss is a very serious indicator.

Poor Response to Treatments

Your dog may stop responding to treatments and medications that used to keep him happy and healthy as his body ages. A dog with diabetes may need apparently unending insulin dose adjustments, while a dog with arthritis may need more painkillers. Even with medication and appetite stimulants to keep him eating, a dog with cancer may continue to lose weight and worsen.

Dull Eyes

The eyes of dogs towards the end of their lives frequently change. Your dog’s eyes could appear dull or glassy to you. When combined with other symptoms, changes in the appearance of the eye(s) can signal the end of life, albeit these changes are frequently just a sign of an eye disease on their own.

Poor Temperature Regulation

Aging and sickly dogs frequently struggle to control their body temperature, easily becoming overheated or chilly. Provide your dog with a shaded, well-ventilated spot to rest if you live in a warm region. Make sure your dog has access to a warm, snug bed in colder climates, as well as a pleasant warm space to lie in the sun or next to a radiator.

Lack of Appetite and Not Eating

At the end of life, nausea is a regular occurrence. Dogs who are ill frequently don’t want to eat, and some drugs may make food less enticing to your dog by causing him to lose his sense of taste or smell. Try giving your dog foods with a strong aroma so he can smell them better to improve his interest in food. You may also warm his food to make it smell better.

To increase your dog’s appetite, your vet may also recommend an appetite stimulant. A prescription for an antiemetic like Cerenia may be given if it is thought that your dog might be queasy.

Lack of Interest and Depression

Dogs frequently lose interest in their favorite things near the end of their life, including walks, toys, food, and even their devoted owners. When you pay closer attention, you’ll see that your dog no longer does things like meet you at the entrance or wag his tail when you tease him with a favorite toy. At first, it could just seem like your dog is sleeping more.

Dogs with mobility issues could get depressed because they can’t do the things they once enjoyed, which can cause frustration.

Abnormal Breathing

The muscles and nerves in your dog’s body that control breathing are not immune to the body’s progressive decomposition. Your dog may begin to exhibit aberrant breathing patterns, with ups and downs in his respiratory rate even while he is at rest. Periodically, he may stop breathing, then start again.

Open-mouth breathing, straightening out his head and neck while keeping the rest of his body steady, or moving his abdomen in and out while breathing are all indications of trouble breathing. It is urgent that this situation be handled right away.


Towards the end of their life, some dogs may start having seizures. This may be brought on by metabolic disturbances brought on by illnesses like kidney failure or by issues with the brain itself. These seizures may or may not respond to treatment, depending on the underlying reason and their severity. Emergency situations include seizures that last longer than 10 minutes or that happen in a series of clusters.