Let’s Be a Doggie Detective: Tail

Click on the tails and gather clues to become a Doggie Detective!


The tail is elevated, straight, and potentially in motion.

Looking at the tail in addition to the rest of the body, the ears are slightly raised, eyes are smiley but wide, and the mouth is open, commissure pulled back (the dog had been running for a while and was actively panting). When you consider this dog’s whole body, he is aroused and engaged in play.

The dog’s tail is lowered and still, and her weight is shifted away from the person. With the weight shift, the hind end is slightly curved under and the muscles are tight.

When you consider this dog’s tail in addition to the other signals, you will notice that the ears are turned slightly back and angled out with muscle tension throughout the ear base. The white of the eye is visible (whale eye), as well as the forward/raised eyebrows and overall facial tension.  In addition, the mouth (muzzle) is tightly closed. When you consider this dog’s whole body, she is uncertain and uncomfortable.

The tail is straight up, stiff, and the fur is pilo-erected along the tail base.

Looking at the whole body, this dog’s ears are tightly pulled back and to the side. The eyes are dilated, hard, wide, and intensely focused. The dog’s mouth is closed, commissure forward, lips forward.  In addition to these signals, also note the wide and balanced stance, the gripping/spread toes, and the high degree of muscle tension throughout the whole body.  When you take in all of these clues, this dog is standing his ground and ready to take action.  If approached, he would likely escalate to a bite.

For this dog, the tail is midline and sweeping. It is in motion mid-wag.

Looking at the whole body, this dog’s ears are soft, loose, and lowered. His eyes are bright, soft, and smiley, and the mouth (muzzle) is open and relaxed.  When you consider this dog’s whole body, he is happy, socially engaged, and playful.

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