What Tale Does the Tail Tell You?

I received a video today on my “bravodoberman” facebook page. As I was watching it I laughed to myself when I noticed the brown Doberman near the end of the video. Notice this dog wagging his tail as he attacks the “bad guy”. Many people think a dog only wags his tail to show signs of friendliness. As you can see in this video this dog clearly “likes” this bad guy, in the same way I like a good cut of steak.

The tail of a dog can tell you many things about how a dog is feeling but it may not always be what you think. Learning what a tail is telling you can be a valuable tool when evaluating the intentions of a dog.

There are two key ways to read what a dog is feeling. These would be his ears and his tail. Each dog has their own unique way of expressing themselves but certain stances are the same in all dogs.

Aggression and wagging tails

A raised tail wagging slowly usually means this dog is aggressive and dominant. If that tail stops wagging and you see the head lower and the ears go flat, the next sound will be growling. At this point if something doesn’t happen to change this dog’s intention, this action would be followed by a strike. It is also possible for the dog to go straight to a strike especially when he is challenging another dog.

The Doberman in this video is an excellent example of a strong, dominant dog with clear intention. If he had more of a tail, you would see it standing tall. This dog’s tail is wagging furiously because the dog is very stimulated.

Bottom line; don’t trust the wagging tail of a dog that you are not familiar with. Be cautious and patient. Give the dog time to make a next move to show you what his intentions are. Could save you from a very bad situation.

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