What is your pet thinking? Part II

D. Williams

Last month, cat tails – this month is all about dogs and their tails. Ever wish you knew what your pet was thinking? You can, just watch his tail.

There are as many types of dog tails as dog breeds. Though it is fun to try to guess what our dogs are thinking with their tail language, it is only one small slice of a dog’s body language. The tail end offers some significant clues as to how he is feeling; however, it is absolutely essential to look at your dog’s overall body language to truly decipher what he may be feeling.

Tail’s Height – In general, a dog who is holding his tail high may be feeling excited, alert or dominant, while a dog holding his tail down low may be afraid or submissive. The more anxious or submissive a dog is feeling, the more tightly he will tuck his tail close to his body. A dog who carries his tail lower than usual can also be indicating that he is in pain or exhausted from too much exercise. It is important to keep in mind that the normal tail carriage varies for every dog, since tail height is relative to the breed.

Tension in the Tail – A rigid, highly held tail shows a very aroused state; this dog is likely going to react to things around him. If a dog is agitated, his tail may also “fluff” up, with the hair standing up on end. When the highly-raised tail flicks back and forth rapidly, it is called “flagging” and may indicate an imminent attack from a dog who is ready to defend his ground. Interfering with a dog in this state is a good way to get bitten.

Way the Tail Wags – Not all wags mean a friendly dog. The type of wag that indicates a happy, relaxed dog is usually a sweeping tail wag that moves from side to side at a height close to the dog’s relaxed tail carriage. An exuberant, joyful reaction would be a tail wag that beats back and forth with gusto at a neutral height, with the dog’s hind end often wagging back and forth in unison and the tail possibly even moving in a circular fashion.

We look forward to seeing you at our Valentine’s event on Saturday, February 10, in the Dance Room at Cottonwood. Back by popular demand will be our “kissing booth.” We have some exceptional kids looking for homes! If you need more information, please call 480-600-2828.