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Dog Tail Between Legs Scared

Dog’s Tail Between Legs | Unlock the Meaning

Is there a hidden meaning that we, as humans, are not aware of? A dog’s tail between legs can mean a host of messages for their owner or fellow dogs. An indication of fear, excitement or way of saying sorry for destroying the couch, lawn or eating the food of the table. Well, of being caught anyway.

If you are the owner of a dog, you have most likely witnessed this behavior every once in a while. There are a few reasons why your pooch would stop wagging their tail and tuck it between their legs.

This Leg Positioning Means Communication

If you are the owner of a dog, you have most likely witnessed this behavior every once in a while. There are a few reasons why your pooch would stop wagging their tail and tuck it between their legs.

A dog will put their tail between their legs as a way to communicate with people, other dogs or animals, or even inanimate objects.

You, as their owner, will need to decipher their feelings in case they need help to adapt to a particular situation.

A Dog's Tail Between Its Legs Maybe Fear

A dog’s tail between legs is often a sign of  the dog  being frightened, it will tuck its tail between its legs to protect its genitals sometimes the dog will even whimper. This often happens when a dog encounters other dogs it is not familiar with, or wild animals that it does not have experience with.

A tail that is held between a dog’s hind legs is an indicator to other animals, or even people, that the dog does not want attention.

In addition to tucking its tail between its legs, a dog will have wide eyes or it will act as if it is tired.  Your dog may turn its head away from the animal or person it is afraid of to avoid eye contact. Or if the dog’s standing with its tail between its legs it may also begin to shake.

In the animal world, eye contact is taken as a challenge. If your dog is approached, instinct kicks in and it will bare its teeth, stiffen its body, raise its hackles, and flatten its ears back.

This is a sign that it is prepared to defend itself if need be. This is where you will need to step in to make your fur baby feel safe and comfortable.

This may mean removing the object your dog is afraid of or taking your dog away from the situation entirely.

Dog's Tail Between Legs


A dog that doesn’t like confrontation will often be submissive. They will roll on their back, exposing their belly with their tail tucked between their legs. This position signals the other dog (or people) that they are no threat and harmless.  

Guilt Leads To Apologetic Behavior

A common reason for tail tucking is your dog has been naughty and knows you won’t be happy with them. While requesting forgiveness, your dog will likely hunker down and try to make itself look small. It will tuck its tail between its legs during this time.

Your dog may wag its tail while it is in this position. Your dog will sneak looks at you and give you “puppy dog eyes” indicating it is sorry for its behavior.

Once you have forgiven your pup, they may follow up with a “nose bump”. They will touch you somewhere on your body with their nose to cement their apology.

Dog Has Tail Between Legs Acting Weird


If your dog is feeling sad, their tail will drop and they will become listless. Animals have feelings just like people do. Offer your pup comfort until the mood passes and you should have a wagging tail again in no time.

On Heat

You will find that when a female is on heat (in the cycle for getting pregnant) she will tuck her tail-under in the presence of male dogs until she is ready to mate.

A female covers her vagina so a male can’t mount her until she is ready to create puppies. She will move her tail to the side once her cycle is right to indicate she is ready to accept a male.

Tail Injury

If your dog has injured their tail, it will hang at half-mast. A lowered tail can be an emergency situation as a broken tail can cut off blood flow and require amputation. Your dog will be in a lot of pain so a trip to the vets is a good idea.

Your Dog Might Need Medical Attention

If your dog is not feeling well, hurt or if it is in pain, it will likely not be energetic or engaging in usual activities. You may notice your dog tucking its tail between its legs to show you it is in need of help.

In addition,  your dog may feel anxious and stressed. Look over your dog’s body for any indicative signs of an injury or sickness and contact your veterinarian if necessary.

Happy dog with tucked tail
Image by sipa from Pixabay

Excess energy Could Lead To A Dog's Tail Between Legs

If your dog is exceptionally happy, it will likely be energetic and want to play. A dog with plenty of energy often spins around in circles to show its joy.

Extreme excitement can lead to a case of the zoomies. Your dog will run very fast and slightly upright, tucking its tail between its legs to keep it out of the way.

The next time you see your dog tucking its tail between its legs, put on your detective hat to figure out what your pet is trying to tell you.

Knowing the possible reasons for tail-tucking will keep them happy and healthy in mind and body.