Don’t misinterpret that wagging tail, Fido may not be happy to see you!!! Most people assume that when a dog is wagging its tail it’s happy to see them, but that is not always the case. Dogs use their tail to communicate, where it is positioned and how they are wagging it can tell you a lot.
If the dog’s tail is high in the air while wagging it may be aggressive. Most large dogs will do this to indicate they are dominant. Sometimes they will only wave the tip to express this emotion. When the tail is just straight out it’s an indication of curiosity, however if it is stiff and he is wagging it rigidly back and forth that is a sign he is not friendly at the moment. He could be a sign of him holding his ground or threatening someone. You always be cautious when approaching a dog as it might snap or bite out of fear.
Fido does have a friendly wag that often involves the whole back end. His tail will move sweepingly back and forth. The more excited Fido gets the faster the wag will get, and his but will wiggle. It is hard to misinterpret a friendly wag, but it is always best to still be cautious when approaching.
A new study finds that dogs respond to the direction of a tail wag. Canines that see tails wagging to the right are more relaxed, whereas they become more stressed when they see tails wagging to the left. The responses are a result of the differing roles played by the left and right hemispheres of a dog’s brain, according to the research. (Related: “Can Dogs Feel Our Emotions? Yawn Study Suggests Yes.”)
The tail is just one part of the dog, also look at his body, head position, ears, eyes, and hackles to help you understand what the dog may be trying to express.