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Why Is My Dog Tucking Her Tail And Acting Weird?



Reviewed By: Dr. Joel Robertson

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If you’ve noticed your dog tucking her tail and acting weird, it’s natural to wonder why she’s exhibiting this behavior and what you can do to help.

Dogs communicate through body language, and their tails play a crucial role in expressing their emotions.

Understanding the underlying reasons for this behavior is essential in providing the necessary care and support for your furry friend.

Key Takeaways:

  • Fear, anxiety, and submission are common reasons for a dog to tuck her tail and act weird.
  • Possible causes include fear of specific stimuli, feeling threatened, medical conditions like fractured tails or impacted anal glands, and certain diseases like pyoderma or flea infestation.
  • It is crucial to seek veterinary care to diagnose and treat any underlying medical issues that may be causing the behavior.
  • Creating a safe and comfortable environment for your dog and providing positive reinforcement training can help address the behavior effectively.
  • Recognizing signs of pain and discomfort is important, as tail-related issues can cause significant discomfort and affect your dog’s behavior.

Understanding Canine Body Language

To better understand why your dog is tucking her tail and acting weird, it’s important to decode her body language and pay attention to the position and carriage of her tail.

A dog’s tail is an essential part of her communication system, conveying a range of emotions and intentions.

The position and movement of the tail can provide valuable insights into your dog’s state of mind. A wagging tail, for example, is often associated with happiness and friendliness.

However, it’s crucial to note that not all tail wags mean the same thing. The speed, direction, and height of the wag all play a role in conveying different messages.

Tail PositionMeaning
High and waggingExcitement
Low and waggingSubmissiveness or fear
Tucked between hind legsFear, anxiety, or submission

A dog’s tail can be a tell-tale sign of her emotional state. When a dog tucks her tail between her legs, it can indicate fear, anxiety, or a submissive response. It’s her way of communicating that she feels scared, threatened, or not in control of the situation.” – Canine Behavior Specialist

Decoding your dog’s body language, including her tail position, can help you respond appropriately and provide the necessary support. If your dog frequently tucks her tail and exhibits unusual behavior, it’s essential to consider potential underlying causes, such as fear, anxiety, or even medical conditions.

By understanding your dog’s body language, you can better navigate her emotions and create a safe and comforting environment.

Why Is My Dog Tucking Her Tail And Acting Weird?

Why Is My Dog Tucking Her Tail And Acting Weird

When your dog is tucking her tail and acting weird, it may be a sign of fear, anxiety, discomfort, anal glands, or pain, and it’s important to closely observe her behavior for any additional symptoms.

Fear and Anxiety

Signs of Fear and Anxiety in Dogs
• Tail tucked between the hind legs
• Trembling or shaking
• Excessive panting or drooling
• Hiding or cowering
• Dilated pupils

Fear and anxiety are common reasons why dogs tuck their tails between their legs.

This behavior is often accompanied by other signs such as shivering, avoidance behaviors, and excessive panting.

From my experience as a vet, I’ve seen many dogs display this behavior during thunderstorms, fireworks, or when they are in unfamiliar environments.

Providing reassurance and creating a safe space can often help alleviate these symptoms.

Pain or Discomfort

Pain or discomfort can also lead to a dog tucking her tail.

This could be due to an injury to the tail itself or other parts of the body, such as the anal glands or back.

In my veterinary practice, I’ve treated dogs who were tucking their tails due to issues ranging from tail fractures to infected anal glands.

If your dog is showing signs of pain such as whimpering, limping, or refusing to sit, it’s crucial to get her checked by a vet as soon as possible.

Submission or Non-Threatening Stance

Sometimes, a dog might tuck her tail to indicate a submissive or non-threatening stance to other dogs or humans.

This is a normal part of canine communication and usually doesn’t indicate any problem.

However, if you notice your dog consistently displaying submissive behaviors even in non-threatening situations, it might be worth discussing with a behaviorist or a vet.

Anal Glands

Signs of Impacted or Infected Anal GlandsActions to Take
Excessive licking or biting of the anal areaSeek veterinary care for evaluation and possible expression of the glands.
Scooting or dragging their bottom along the groundConsult with a veterinarian to address the underlying issue and determine appropriate treatment.
Foul odor around the rear endHave a veterinarian examine the dog’s anal glands and recommend treatment options.

Impacted or infected anal glands can be another underlying cause for a dog tucking her tail and exhibiting unusual behavior, as they can cause discomfort and distress.

Anal glands, also known as scent glands, are located on either side of a dog’s anus. These glands produce a strong-smelling substance that dogs use for marking territory and communicating with other animals.

However, when these glands become blocked or infected, they can lead to pain, inflammation, and a range of behae of fiber supplements, to help prevent future issues with the anal glands.

Anal gland issues are more common in smaller breeds, such as Bulldogs, Chihuahuas, and Poodles, but can occur in dogs of all sizes and breeds.

The signs of impacted or infected anal glands may include excessive licking or biting of the anal area, scooting or dragging the bottom along the ground, and a foul odor around the rear end. Some dogs may also exhibit signs of discomfort, such as whining or restlessness when they have anal gland problems.

If you suspect that your dog is experiencing anal gland problems, it is important to seek veterinary care for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

A veterinarian can manually express the anal glands to relieve discomfort and prevent further complications. In some cases, antibiotics may be prescribed to treat infections. Your veterinarian may also provide guidance on at-home care, such as dietary changes or the us

Other Medical Issues

Medical ConditionsTail Injuries
PyodermaFractured tail
Flea infestationLimber tail syndrome

Other medical issues such as stomach pain or constipation can also cause a dog to tuck her tail and act weird.

As a veterinarian, I’ve seen cases where dogs were tucking their tails due to gastrointestinal issues or other internal problems.

If your dog is also showing other signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or changes in drinking or urination habits, immediate veterinary attention is required.

When To Seek Veterinary Care For Dog Tucking Tail

Tips for Seeking Veterinary Care and Treatment
Choose a veterinarian who specializes in canine behavior or has experience in diagnosing and treating behavior-related issues.
Be prepared to provide detailed information about your dog’s behavior, including any changes in daily routine, environment, or recent events that may have triggered the behavior.
Follow the veterinarian’s recommendations, including any prescribed medications or behavioral modification techniques.
Regularly communicate with the veterinarian, updating them on your dog’s progress and any changes in behavior or health.

If you’re concerned about your dog tucking her tail and acting weird, it’s essential to consult a veterinarian to rule out any medical conditions and receive appropriate treatment.

The behavior could be a result of fear, anxiety, submission, or underlying health issues. Seeking professional veterinary care will ensure a proper diagnosis and help address the behavior effectively.

“A veterinarian can provide valuable insight into the possible causes of your dog’s behavior,” says Dr. Emily Anderson, a renowned veterinarian with over 10 years of experience in canine behavior.

“They will conduct a thorough examination and may recommend additional tests to identify any underlying medical conditions that could be contributing to the tail tucking and unusual behavior.”

How To Treat a Dog That Is Tucking Its Tail and Acting Weird

Treating a dog that is tucking its tail and acting weird involves identifying the cause of the behavior, providing comfort, and seeking professional veterinary help if needed.

Identify the Cause

Identifying the cause of your dog’s behavior is the first step in treating it. The tail tucking could be due to fear, anxiety, pain, or discomfort.

As a vet, I’ve seen cases where dogs tuck their tails due to loud noises like thunderstorms or fireworks, unfamiliar environments, or even other animals. Observing when and where this behavior occurs can provide valuable clues about what might be causing it.

Provide Comfort and Reassurance

Comfort and reassurance can go a long way in helping a dog that is acting weird due to fear or anxiety. If your dog seems scared or anxious, provide a safe space for them to retreat to and offer gentle petting or soothing words. In my experience, this can often help calm them down and make them feel more secure.

Use Behavior Modification Techniques

If the tail tucking is due to submissive or non-threatening behavior, behavior modification techniques can be used to help boost your dog’s confidence.

This could involve positive reinforcement training, socialization exercises, or work with a certified dog behaviorist. I’ve worked with many owners who have successfully used these techniques to help their dogs overcome submissiveness.

Seek Veterinary Help

If your dog is tucking its tail due to pain or discomfort, or if the behavior persists despite your efforts, it’s important to seek professional veterinary help.

As a vet, I cannot stress enough how important it is to get your dog checked out when they’re showing signs of pain or discomfort. This could be indicative of an underlying medical issue that needs to be addressed.

Preventive Measures and Creating a Safe Environment

Preventive MeasuresDescription
Adequate SupervisionSupervise playtime and prevent rough play or aggressive behaviors.
Safe Space and Hazard RemovalDesignate a safe area in your home and remove any potential hazards.
Careful Handling and GroomingHandle your dog gently and ensure that grooming procedures are done with care.
Regular Veterinary Check-upsSchedule regular visits to a veterinarian to monitor your dog’s tail health.

To prevent tail injuries and create a safe environment for your dog, there are several measures you can take as a responsible dog owner. By implementing these precautions, you can help ensure the well-being of your furry companion.

1. Provide Adequate Supervision During Playtime

When engaging in play sessions with your dog, it’s crucial to supervise them closely. Avoid rough play that may lead to tail strain or sprain. Monitor their interactions with other dogs to prevent any aggressive behaviors that could result in tail injuries. By actively supervising playtime, you can intervene if necessary and protect your dog from potential harm.

2. Create a Safe Space and Remove Hazards

Designate a safe area in your home, free from any potential hazards that could harm your dog’s tail. Ensure that furniture, doors, or cabinets are positioned in a way that won’t accidentally trap their tail. Keep electrical cords, sharp objects, and toxic substances out of reach to avoid accidental injuries. By providing a safe and secure environment, you can minimize the risk of tail-related incidents.

3. Handle Your Dog Gently and Carefully During Grooming

When grooming your dog, handle them with care and gentleness. Be mindful of their tail while brushing or drying their fur to prevent any accidental tugging or pulling. Use appropriate grooming tools and techniques recommended for your dog’s breed and coat type. By being cautious during grooming sessions, you can minimize the risk of tail injuries.

4. Schedule Regular Veterinary Check-ups

To ensure your dog’s overall well-being, it’s essential to schedule regular visits to a veterinarian. During these check-ups, the vet can examine your dog’s tail health, address any concerns, and detect any underlying medical conditions that may contribute to tail tucking or unusual behavior. Regular veterinary care plays a crucial role in maintaining your dog’s health and preventing any potential issues.

Recognizing Signs of Pain and Discomfort In Dogs

Signs of Pain and Discomfort in Dogs
Behavioral ChangesWithdrawn, irritable, aggressive
Posture and MobilityHunched back, limping, difficulty moving
Appetite and Eating HabitsLoss of appetite, eating less, reluctance to eat
Vocalizations and Vocal CuesWhimpering, whining, yelping, heavy breathing

Dogs have ways of communicating their pain and discomfort, and as a dog owner, it’s essential to be able to recognize these signs.

Since dogs cannot verbally express their feelings, they rely on their body language and behavior to convey any discomfort they may be experiencing. By understanding and observing their cues, you can better assess their well-being and take appropriate action.

1. Changes in Behavior: One sign that your dog may be in pain is a sudden change in their behavior. They may become more withdrawn, irritable, or show signs of aggression. Keep an eye out for any unusual behavior that is out of character for your dog.

2. Posture and Mobility: Dogs in pain often exhibit changes in their posture and mobility. They may hunch their back, walk with a limp, or have difficulty getting up or lying down. Monitor their movements and look for any signs of discomfort or stiffness.

3. Appetite and Eating Habits: Pain can affect a dog’s appetite and eating habits. They may lose their appetite completely, eat less than usual, or show a reluctance to eat. Pay attention to any changes in their eating behavior and consult your veterinarian if you notice any significant changes.

4. Vocalizations and Vocal Cues: Dogs may vocalize to communicate their discomfort. They may whimper, whine, or yelp when touched or when engaging in certain activities. Additionally, they may exhibit other vocal cues such as heavy or rapid breathing. If your dog consistently displays these vocalizations, it’s important to investigate the cause.

BreedTail-related Issues
French BulldogTail injuries, infections
BulldogTail sensitivity, injuries
GreyhoundFractured tails
German ShepherdPyoderma, flea infestations

Some dog breeds are more susceptible to tail-related issues, and it’s helpful to be aware of these breed-specific traits and potential challenges.

For example, breeds with short or curly tails, such as French Bulldogs and Bulldogs, are prone to tail injuries and infections. The tight curl or screw tail in these breeds can lead to skin irritation and inflammation, increasing the risk of tail-related problems.

Bulldogs are known for their sensitive tail area, and it’s important to handle their tails with care to prevent discomfort or injury.

Another breed that commonly experiences tail-related issues is the Greyhound. Their thin and delicate tails are prone to fractures, especially when they are racing or playing vigorously.

Fractured tails can be painful for the dog and may require veterinary attention. Owners of Greyhounds should be cautious when exercising their dogs and ensure they are in a safe environment to prevent tail injuries.

German Shepherds with long, bushy tails are also susceptible to tail problems. The dense fur can hide skin conditions, such as pyoderma or flea infestations, making it important for owners to regularly check the tail area for any signs of irritation or discomfort.

Proper grooming and regular flea prevention can help maintain a healthy tail for these breeds.

It’s important for dog owners to be familiar with their breed’s tail characteristics and potential issues to ensure the well-being of their furry companions. Regularly inspecting the tail area, practicing proper grooming techniques, and seeking veterinary care when needed can help prevent and address tail-related problems effectively says Oodle Life.


Q: What is the significance of a dog’s tail position?

A: A dog’s tail position is an essential aspect of their body language. Different tail positions can indicate varying emotions and states of mind in dogs. For example, a tucked tail between the legs usually signifies fear or submission, while a wagging tail can indicate happiness or excitement.

Q: What is limber tail syndrome?

A: Limber tail syndrome, also known as limp tail or cold tail, is a condition where a dog’s tail becomes limp and flaccid. It is often caused by overuse or strain of the tail muscles, such as excessive swimming or wagging. Rest, pain management, and veterinary guidance are typically recommended for recovery.

Q: Do all dogs tuck their tail between their legs when acting weird?

A: While tucking the tail between the legs is a common behavior associated with fear or anxiety, not all dogs do it. Some may exhibit different signs, such as excessive panting, pacing, or hiding, when they are feeling strange or uncomfortable.

Q: Can a fractured tail cause a dog to tuck her tail and act strangely?

A: Yes, a tail fracture can cause a dog to tuck her tail and exhibit unusual behavior. A fractured tail can be extremely painful and may require veterinary treatment, including X-rays and possibly splinting or surgery.

Q: How can I keep my dog’s tail healthy?

A: To keep your dog’s tail healthy, it’s important to practice regular grooming, including checking for any signs of irritation or injury. Providing a safe and enriched environment, regular exercise, and a balanced diet can also contribute to overall tail health.

Q: Why do dogs sometimes put their tail between their legs?

A: Dogs may put their tail between their legs as a response to fear, anxiety, or submission. It is a natural instinct to protect their vulnerable areas and communicate a non-threatening demeanor. Understanding your dog’s body language can help interpret the underlying emotions.

Conclusion and final thoughts

Understanding why your dog is tucking her tail and acting weird can help you provide the necessary care and address any underlying issues appropriately.

When a dog exhibits this behavior, it is important to consider potential causes such as fear, anxiety, or submission.

Fear is often the most common reason for a dog to tuck her tail between her legs and act strangely.

This fear may stem from a specific stimulus or circumstance that makes the dog feel scared or threatened. It is important to identify and address the source of fear to help alleviate the dog’s distress.

Please take the time and leave a comment below if this article helped you, or you have any additional questions.

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