What does it mean when your four-legged friend wags its tail? Is he really happy or is he just spreading his personal scent? Both are correct – and the dog tail indicates a lot more.
What a blow for all dog lovers and owners. It was said recently in the media: The dog doesn’t wag its tail at all because it’s happy to see its loved ones again. His gesture, which is so typical, has a very profane reason: dogs have anal glands in the area of the anus, which produce a personal scent. This odorous secretion is distributed as far as possible with the wagging of the tail in order to say to each fellow species: “I’m here too.”
Dogs sniff each other’s hindquarters for nothing when they greet you. This is the best way for them to recognize their counterpart. It is a must for self-confident male dogs to spread their scent mark as far as possible with wags. Anxious and submissive dogs prefer not to use this signal. With the tail held down or tucked in, they cover the anal glands to prevent the scent from escaping, as Justine A. Lee explains in her book Why Dogs Wag Their Tails.
So is there nothing to do with waving for joy? How sad. How happy we dog lovers have always been because of the unmistakable expression of joy at seeing each other again.
Anyone who knows their dog well can tell a lot from their body language
But it’s not that bad. The dog’s tail has several functions. The scent emanation is one. But just as much as the position of the tail indicates a dog’s mood. A science that has been studied in great detail.
For example, a dog has been shown to generally wag its tail as a sign of excitement. Of course, this also includes joy – the joy of seeing a loved one. Or to notice that the person wants to go for a walk with me right now. Here, too, the rod begins to row. However, arousal can also mean stress or other strong feelings – so it cannot be generalized that wagging dogs are only happy. If the dog lowers its head at the same time as it wags the tail, caution is advised, as this is an attack position. You can recognize joyful wagging by the fact that it is very broad, sometimes you have the feeling that the whole dog is swinging along.
Typically, an owner knows their dog well enough to be able to tell from their body language, such as fear when crouched down and tail tucked. Attention with head and ears high, body very still. Reluctance when he tries to dodge something he doesn’t want to do with hanging ears and sad eyes. And when you meet again, the happy tail wagging and cuddling – when else does the dog do it in this way? Whether he also distributes a few scents while wagging his tail – who cares. The nice thing is that the dog is happy and is able to express this joy in such a way that we humans can interpret it correctly.
Everyone is talking about animal communication, but it’s so simple. If you spend a little time with your animal, you will quickly know which gestures mean what. And with the dog, the animal that has been with us for the longest time in our history, we have long since learned to communicate. Without anyone having to instruct us what stuck tailor raised lips mean.