We love our doggos and despite not being able to communicate with them, we have a few ways of knowing what they want.
When they wag their tails, for example, we usually assume it’s because they are happy or if you see one doing it in the park, you assume that they’re friendly, approachable pets.
Some believe that our canine companions do it to convey their emotional state although there isn’t any definitive answer for why they move their tails around.
Dr Stanley Coren, a professor at the University of British Columbia says a dog’s tail movement serves the same function as a human smile.
‘The tail’s position, specifically the height at which it is held, can be considered a sort of emotional meter,’ he said in Psychology Today.
‘A middle height suggests the dog is relaxed. If the tail is held horizontally, the dog is attentive and alert. As the tail position moves farther up, it is a sign the dog is becoming more threatening, with a vertical tail being a clearly dominant signal: “I’m boss around here,” or a warning, “Back off or suffer the consequences.”‘
‘As the tail position drops lower, it is a sign that the dog is becoming more submissive, is worried, or feels poorly. The extreme expression is the tail tucked under the body, which is a sign of fear: “Please don’t hurt me.”‘
So can dogs control their tails wagging?
Dog tail language is complex; just like humans, they also have dialects and speed determines different feelings.
The speed of the wag indicates how excited the dog is. Meanwhile, the breadth of each tail sweep reveals whether the dog’s emotional state is positive or negative.
It also appears that they often start wagging out of instinct, not out of conscious thought. It’s kind of like a human frowning (or resting bitch face) and is an instinctive thing rather than a conscious decision.
If you were really keen, you could keep a dog-tail-wagging dictionary to learn more about your canine friend.