As per Darwin’s Theory of Existence… all living organisms have to struggle for their existence. So, quest for food was the paramount issue for all organisms. And our pooches’ ancestors being pack animals developed this habit of tail wagging as a silent signal to express their feelings. Actually wagging tail is body’s physiological response for dissipating excess energy. Over the years, this habit became intimately intertwined with expressions, be it happiness, excitement, fear or anger.
The balancing act…
Centuries ago, tail movement played a crucial role in the dog’s ability to balance. When the weight of dog’s body was shifted to one side, the tail moves to other to counterbalance. To support this fact… let us take example of new born puppies. They never wag their tails until they are six or seven weeks old. Once they start interacting with the outer world… they start using their tails as a means of communication and social interaction.
A wag speaks louder than words
While we interpret what our pooch actually tries to say, we have to keep many other aspects in mind as well. The speed of the wag, the height of his tail and the stance of the rest of the dog’s body together helps to actually sum up what he’s communicating… is it happiness, anger, fear or anxiety?
I’m happy! When your pooch comes wagging his tail fast, he’s actually too happy to see you. He is sharing his inner delight with you.
I’m confident! And hey watch out for tail–wagging wide… our pooch means ‘I’m confident, happy and interested’.
I’m interested! While doggie’s relaxed horizontal tail, wagging slowly means he’s actually interested in you and wants to know more about you. If your pooch wags like this… just pat on his back and share a few words.
Grrrr… Stay away! And sometimes when we find a tail held high, stiff, possibly quivering or no movement, this clearly means that our furry chap is not in a very good mood… he’s agitated. Bow! Be careful. ‘Hey man I’m not in best of my moods, don’t mess with me,’ this is when the tail is held high.
Beware! A full tail wag can be a greeting, but if the tail stiffens to where only the tip is moving, then there is a greater chance that the dog is feeling challenged and may attack. The raising of the hackles, lowering of the ears, and sometimes a warning growl will accompany this tail behaviour.
Bow… I’m scared! Besides conveying ‘I’m happy’ or ‘Beware of me’ tail wag also indicates pooches’ fear and nervousness.
A tail tucked between the legs is evident of this emotion.
It’s me! Dogs wag their tail for identification purposes as well. While wagging anal glands are squeezed, this is an identification odour for distinct dogs, these pheromones help in identifying dog.
Thus, tail wagging is a far deep phenomenon than it appears… so next time your dog wags his tail, don’t just think that our pooch is too happy. Different wags have different messages to convey!