Different Dog Tail Wags and Meanings

From bounding up to greet you after work to jumping in bed to wake you up in the morning, our dogs’ happy moments often come with plenty of tail wags. Far from just communicating their overwhelming joy for your presence, however, those wags can also tell us a lot about how dogs react to their environment.

Often, those tail wags can simply be a sign they’ve spotted another canine friend or are excited about dinner or treats like CBD for dogs. But what if those dog tail signals are trying to tell you something else?

In truth, our dogs’ tails can express a whole range of emotions—and happiness is just the start. Learning how to read your pup’s tail wags and body language can help you stay in tune with their needs and feelings, no matter the situation. To that end, let’s dive into the 7 most common types of tail wagging.

#1 The Joyful Tail Wag

You walk in the door after a day away and your dog gallops up to you, tail slightly raised and wagging at a moderate speed. It’s a wag that automatically inspires all the pets and praises, and for good reason.

As much joy as this kind of tail wag can bring you, this relaxed but speedy wag often signals joy and happiness in your dog, too.

Usually, the situation you’re in can help you determine whether a dog’s wag is truly a happy one. If you’re in a comfortable, familiar environment, your dog may feel more relaxed and cheerful than they would elsewhere.

Other signs of your dog’s happy mood may include:

  • Hips and shoulders that gently move side-to-side with their tail
  • Relaxed, wiggly posture
  • Floppy ears
  • Soft eyes

In the case of a happy wag, all you need to do is give your pup all the attention they deserve, soak up all the joyful energy, and throw in a “good dog” while you’re at it.

#2 The Excited Tail Wag

Perhaps they know something’s about to happen the moment you put on your shoes. Or maybe your dog perks up when they hear you say, “Want to go for a walk?” Whatever triggers the excited tail wag, it’s a sign that your dog thinks something amazing is coming their way.

The excited wag essentially looks like an intensified happy wag. Some signs you might notice include:



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