Wagging tails from your dog are more than just a cute little back and forth fluffy device. Your dog speaks tail fluently and they use it as a method to communicate with humans and other dogs. It is their way of communicating emotions. Different tail positions and movements help decipher if your pup is happy, scared, or just curiously exploring.

Here is a list with some of the common names and interpretations for your dog shaking their tail feather. This should help you understand why dog’s shake their tails and what it means when they wag them. Understanding your dog more helps build your relationship and allows you to know each other on a deeper level.

Happy dogs tail

A happy tail in dogs is clearly the best kind of dog tail wag! If your dog’s tail is relaxed and shaking from side to side along with body movement, they are happy, excited, and are the life of the pawty. Admire your pup’s cute wiggly little booty.

Horizontal dogs tail

If your dogs tail is horizontal with slight movements, that can mean they are greeting another dog or person–this could also mean nervousness. You may see your dog’s tail horizontal with rapid movements. This indicates your pup is alert and could be greeting or in some type of discomfort.

Relaxed dogs tail

When your dog’s tail is in a relaxed and natural state and not in any abnormal direction, this means they are calm and comfortable. They typically are chillin’ out maxin’ out relaxin’ all cool. Let them vibe.

dogs tail wagging while playing

Tail between legs

This one is pretty easy to interpret–your poor doggo is scared so it’s tail is between their legs. You will also notice other characteristics to accompany this scared. Examples of this could be a hunched over back or fur lifting up from their back.

High tail

When your dog has a high tail, it means they are very alert and ready to react. They feel confident and in control!

Out dogs tail

If your pup has a tail sticking straight out, it means they are exploring or examining their area. My dogs do this when they are sniffing new smells in the park.

basic dog mom mom dogs tail wagging means

Left or right tail wagging

This is interesting because it has been researched how a dog’s feeling is different based on whether it is wagging to the left or to the right. This is indicative of a side bias and is due to the left and right side of the dog brain.

A left wagging tail can display anxiousness, nervousness, and typically has a negative connotation.

However, if the tail is wagging to the right, the dog tends to be more relaxed, calm, and approachable. When I walk inside a room where my pups are their tails shift to the right in happiness. If your dog sees an unfamiliar dog, it can bias more to the left as they see this as a potentially negative situation.

Stiff tail

If your dog’s tail is stiff or shaking, it means they can be aggressive and are ready to attack any threats.

Find out if your dog has feelings just like you do here.