(Number 1 in our ‘Learn to Speak Dog Language’ series)

Did you know that dogs speak with their tails? Yes, they are talented and brilliant; they can precisely convey their feelings with just the swish or ever-so-gentle whip. Yet many of us don’t know how to listen or see what our dogs are trying to say. 

Before I knew how to understand my dog’s body language and “tail talking,” I thought that whenever she wagged her tail, it must mean that she was happy and content; even if the rest of her body seemed tense and insecure… if the tail was wagging, she must be conflicted or at least partially happy. Right?!


You may be just as surprised as I was to know that dogs don’t only wag their tail when they are happy. Tail wagging is also a sign that a dog feels tense or insecure.

For example, if the wag is slow, swishing back and forth, and relaxed, this usually signals a happy greeting.

But if the tail is erect and stiff and the wag is more of a quick vibration, it may be a sign that the dog is tense about the interaction.

And why is this important, you ask? Besides adding a new language to your resume and becoming fluent in dog, learning to read your dog’s tail wags is one of the most loving and respectful acts you can do for your dog.

The next time you think about petting a dog, you may not know or allow your dog to interact with another dog on a walk or in the park; watch their tail, and they will tell you what they need or how they feel. Tails don’t lie.

You may save your dog’s life, your face from being bitten, or a dog from being deemed dangerous just because they were trying to convey their discomfort, but no one was listening.

With love for all dogs.

P.S. Our following blog in this ‘Learn to Speak Dog Language’ series is about a dog’s mouth and what it says without actually speaking… Stay tuned!