Why do dogs wag their tails? - Vet Advice by Vet Dr Scott Miller

Two Dalmatians walking

Why do dogs wag their tails? - Vet Advice by Vet Dr Scott Miller

Is there a meaning behind our dogs wagging their tail?


We assume a dog wagging its tail must mean they're happy right? Not always...Vet, Dr Scott Miller answers the question, why do dogs wag their tail? and shares the meaning behind different tail wags alongside body language ques to help distinguish how your pet is reacting to a situation 🐕


Two dogs sniffing each other


What does it mean when my dog wags their tail?

Dr Scott Miller says, tail wagging is commonly misinterpreted as just a sign of happiness, that a dog is friendly and wants to say hi but it is far more complicated than that. The wag of a canine's tail can be as a result of feeling aroused, overstimulated or even frustrated.


What do different tail wags mean?

Focusing just on the tail is like just listening to a part of a sentence, pretty hard to interpret what someone is telling you, so the entire body language must be taken into account.

A high held tail

When confident or aroused, the tail is held high to expose their scent glands which are either side of the anus, to advertise their presence with good airflow around the area.

Side to side wagging tail

If the tail is wagging side to side but pooch seems tense with hard staring eyes, then this could indicate an overly aroused or frustrated dog that is best left alone.

Slower wagging tail

A slower wagged tail can indicate a canine that is calmly assessing a situation and should be given time and space to do so.

Helicopter style 360 (plus a bum wiggle!)

A helicopter style 360 wag is a sure fire sign of friendliness, with a relaxed stance and bum wiggling likely to suggest this is a dog that definitely wants to positively engage with you or your dog.


Vet, Dr Scott Miller & Barking Heads


How do I brush my dogs teeth? Read our blog by Vet Dr Scott Miller on his top tips for dental health!



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