Published: 20 December 2016
Dogs use their tails to communicate strong emotions. These can include happiness but also negative aspects such as agitation, annoyance and anger. This is important as many people are unaware that a wagging tail is not always a positive sign of a dogs mood.
A dogs tails aid their balance, prevent them from falling over when moving at high speed and making sharp changes of direction when running or swimming. The tail also helps dogs to balance when walking along narrow structures, climbing or leaping. Dogs have also adapted their tails to play a vital role in communication, especially when walking and standing still.
Most dogs learn to wag their tails when they are a couple of months old, when they begin to communicate with their litter-mates or mothers.
Pups may wag their tail like to suggest a truce to its litter mates. As they grow, they wag their tail to beg for food from the adults in their canine family.
Coming up - Top tips on what various dog wag-tail positions mean.
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