Why Does My Dog’s Tail Stop Wagging When I Pet Him

Dogs wagging their tails is so common that we even find strange when a dog doesn’t do it. It’s like a canine trademark. Now, even though we usually associate tails wagging profusely with happiness, it isn’t always the case. What can be even more unsettling to humans is to notice that dogs stop wagging their tails right after doing with such enthusiasm. Sometimes when I pet my dog his tail freezes immediately. It’s like the batteries stopped.

So, why does my dog’s tail stop wagging when I pet him? A dog’s tail stops wagging to communicate that the dog is relaxed around you or that he doesn’t want to be pet. If the dog is yours, it usually means that they’re comfortable enough around you and are just relaxed since they’re getting the petting that they wanted. If we’re talking about a strange dog, it may be a subtle way to let you know that they don’t want to be touched.

A dog’s tail is super important for their communication. It’s how they learn to communicate with their mother and siblings. It’s important to let them know if they don’t want to be touched or they don’t want to play anymore.

So, if you want to learn more about what messages your dog is sending you with their tails, keep reading. Below you’ll see that there’s a whole language that you can get access to by paying attention to how your dog wags his tail.

Dogs Communicate With Their Tails

Throughout the many years that dogs and humans have lived together, dogs learned many different ways to communicate with us. Although many people think that dogs only communicate by barking at you or something else, that’s simply not true. They’ve also learned to use other ways such as their tails to send you messages and let you know what they want or how they feel.

It all comes down to whether or not their tails are wagging, and at what position they hang their tails as well. There a whole hidden language there that you can learn to better communicate with your four-legged friend. The main takeaway is to keep in mind that dogs do not just wag their tails when they’re happy.

They can do it to show you they’re about to attack, alert, happy, sad, and other things. Even not moving their tails means something as well. Like when they stop wagging when you pet them. That’s what you can see more of below.

It May Be A Non-aggressive Way To Say They Don’t Want To Interact

Let’s begin with the bad side of this sign. Dogs, usually when you’re strange to them, may stop wagging their tails when you pet them to let you know that they don’t want to interact with you. This is a non-aggressive way to let you know that they wouldn’t like to be touched at that moment. Instead of biting you, which would be aggressive, they just stop wagging their tails.

Now, the first thing that you should do when it’s a strange dog, it’s to stop what you’re doing. You don’t need to be afraid since this is non-aggressive behavior. Just stop petting the strange dog and avoid touching them for the time being. As you’re going to see below, there are other more likely reasons why they’re stopping wagging their tails, but it’s better to be safe here.

So, if you notice the dog freezes every time you touch them, stop doing what you’re doing. Also, you don’t need to worry about it too much because dogs will usually move away from you if that’s the case.

Tactile Stimulus Is Too Much For Them

Now, moving on to the possibilities of when the dog is yours, let’s talk about stimulus. Dogs wag their tails when they’re happy. This is not the only emotion they express with this movement, but it’s the main one. So, when you pet your dog, he gets a lot of stimulus from the touch. This means it’s a lot for their brains to process. That’s why they freeze their tails.

What you should do in this situation is nothing. You can continue to pet your dog and play with him no matter what. The stimulus does not cause pain or anything that it’s bad for your dog. It’s just their brains being too occupied with your touch to continue doing what they were doing.

So, the good news is that you don’t need to worry. Your dog is just too happy and a little overwhelmed to continue wagging his tail. Petting your dog is an important step to form and continue to establish a bond between you and your dog. This means that you should continue to nourish this relationship by petting your dog and playing with him.

It Usually Means They’re Relaxed

There are a lot of nerves and even muscles in your dog’s tail. When they’re relaxed, like the rest of their muscles, their tails relax as well. This means that all movement and tension fade. Now, for dogs to be relaxed, they need to trust you and like what it’s happening in the room. If you pet your dog and his tail stops wagging, it probably means that he’s relaxed.

All they want when they see you and their tails wag uncontrollably, it’s for you to pet them. So, when they get what they wanted, their tails and body relax all together. It’s a fun, pleasing time for them. Dogs love to be around their human-half. When you pet them it’s like heaven for them. Being relaxed is also great for their health.

So, rest assured that your dog is just relaxed. If you keep the rooms clean, the water fresh, the food coming, and the air relaxing your dog will live a long, happy time. To improve the mood of the house, the best way is to place a pet diffuser to make your dog more relaxed. The ThunderEase Dog Calming Pheromone Diffuser is the best one for pets. Check it out here.

Pay Attention To The Rest Of The Body Language

It’s not only dogs that know how to communicate with dogs. Humans have also learned how to communicate with them as well. For you, this means that you should pay attention to their whole body language. It says a lot if you just try to listen to it. If you started to pet your dog and his tail froze, pay attention to their body language.

Maybe they’re in pain. Maybe they just want you to continue while they enjoy it. Noticing how their bodies react is important. You can have a better relationship with your dog if you’re able to understand them better.

So, if you want to understand your dog better, try to not only play with them but also train them. It establishes mutual respect and a hierarchy that it’s important for both of you. The best way to train dogs is with treats as rewards for good behavior. The Pupford Freeze-Dried Training Treats is great for dog training. Take a look at what other people are saying here.

Make Sure To Form A Bond With Your Dog

So, if your dog’s tail stops wagging when you pet him, it probably is that he’s relaxed or that the stimulus is a bit much for their brains to do other actions. Still, the important thing is for you to continue petting and playing with your dogs. These are the best ways to form a bond with him. Also, make sure to train them to strengthen the bond even further.

The reason is that making sure that your relationship grows is important to your dog’s health and happiness. Dogs are dependent on humans, and that’s why it’s your responsibility to make sure the bond is formed. You should get started by playing with your dog for 5 minutes every single day.

So, make sure that you play with your dog with the right type of toys. Anything that creates a push-and-pull situation is not good because it might encourage aggressiveness. The best toys plush toys or packs with different shapes. The SHARLOVY Dog Chew Toys is the best toy pack for dogs with a variety that’ll help you form that bond even faster. Grab yours here.

Final Thoughts

So, this is why your dog’s tail stops wagging when you pet him. The good news is that they’re just relaxing since they’re getting what they wanted. They wagged their tails to get you to pet them, so as soon as you do pet them, they stop wagging it. As you can see, nothing to worry about.

You should only be careful with dogs stopping to wag their tails when it’s a strange dog. Again, this is not aggressive behavior, but it can mean that the dog wants you to not touch him. It’s a subtle way to tell you to stop. So, if this happens, stop petting the dog right away and let him be.


As a kid, J. Cesar has always dreamed of becoming Dr. Dolittle. When he isn't writing, you can find him supporting his favorite football team or eating ice cream with his best dog-friend by his side. Linkedin Profile, My Website

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