The dog’s tail: What does it mean when a dog tucks its tail?

A dog's tail can tell you a lot. The position and movements of the dog's tail play a key role in communication.

What does it mean when a dog tucks its tail?

In this article, we give some possible explanations and examples to help you understand this behaviour.

  1. Anxiety or fear

When your dog tucks his tail, it usually indicates fear, anxiety or submissiveness.

For example, if you take your dog to a new place where there is a lot of new stimulation, he may tuck his tail because he is insecure and fearful of his surroundings.

  1. Pain

Tail tucking can also be a sign of pain.

If your dog is not only pulling in its tail, but also moaning, limping or showing other physical signs, you should seek veterinary advice immediately!

For example, a wrong movement, a bump or an internal problem can cause the pain, which the dog tries to signal by pulling in its tail.

  1. Stress or discomfort

Not all tail tucks are a sign of fear or pain. Sometimes the dog is simply uncomfortable or stressed. For example, if your dog doesn't like travelling in the car, he may tuck his tail during the journey.

  1. Sign of low rank

Dogs are social animals and have a rank. Tail tucking is often a sign of subordination.

If two dogs meet and one of them tucks its tail, it is a sign that it recognises the other dog's superiority!

These are just a few examples of why a dog may tuck its tail. If your dog is pulling in its tail for a long time, or if you notice other worrying symptoms in addition to the tail pulling in, contact your vet as soon as possible!

>>  Basenji Dogs and Separation Anxiety: a guide to dealing with anxiety

It is important to always pay attention to your dog's behaviour and body language. Dogs can't talk, so moving their tails is one of the ways they communicate with us.