Why Is My Dog Wagging Its Tail While Asleep

Why Is My Dog Wagging Its Tail While Asleep?

Last Updated: August 20, 2023

In this article you will know the answer to the query “Why Is My Dog Wagging Its Tail While Asleep?“.

When you get home after a long day you turn the doorknob and you see a four-legged creature running toward you.

You see his fluffy tail wagging he jumps on you giving you a furry hug as he’s big and strong.

Why Is My Dog Wagging Its Tail While Asleep

Yes thats a beautiful scene.

This four-legged creature is your beloved dog (please add the dogs name here).

It brings to mind the words of Kinky Friedman: “Money can buy you a fine dog but only love can make him wag his tail”. 

We have seen dogs wagging their tails often as a sign of happiness excitement and just an awfully glad dog.

Study after study has shown that this isnot always the case.

An example of this would be a sleeping dog wagging its tail does this sound familiar? Do you know what this means?

Lets see how it goes.

Why do dogs wag their tails while they sleep? Why Is My Dog Wagging Its Tail While Asleep?

To answer this question lets clarify this: do dogs dream?

What are your thoughts?

We certainly would not get an answer from your dog or any other dog if you ask it if it dreams.

Theres a pretty good reason for that.

Our dogs communicate by barking or by body language unlike humans who speak.

REM is the rapid eye movement that dogs experience during deep sleep just like humans.

At this point its deep sleep when dreaming occurs. You would notice the eyeballs moving behind the eyelids and this is when dreaming occurs. 

Is there a memory of the day you went out had a great time and came home beaming with happiness? Did you sleep well that night? 

Even in your sleep you might have smiled. Your dog experiences the same thing. There is a possibility that it enjoyed a fun day of play received threats and chased birds in the park.

While resting a dog may display dreamlike behaviors such as wagging its tail twitching its paws whining and barking.

As your cute companion sleeps you may find your tail wagging unconsciously while he or she sleeps.

What does it mean when your dog wags its tail when it is awake?

When dogs aren’t asleep how do dogs use their tail to communicate?

Humans use facial expressions as one of the easiest ways to convey their emotions so a smile may not always show happiness it could show embarrassment isnot it?

It is our hope that the recipient will be able to translate each expression correctly to understand what we are trying to communicate.

The same is true for dogs. The swinging of the tail can be interpreted by looking at the motion and placement of the tail. Examples include:

  • Anger or aggression: As a general rule a dogs vertical stiff tail indicates aggression.
  • Anxiety or fright: Even if your dog is wagging its possible that it is afraid if its tail is held between its legs in a lower position. Be aware of other body language signals your dog gives.
  • Guilt or submission: When they express guilt dogs look adorable. It is likely that your dog feels guilty about munching on your favorite pair of shoes if it is slowly wagging its tail and looking at you. If he has done something naughty try to reassure him that its okay.
  • Curiosity and focus: Your dogs tail might be stronger and erect if he is focused on something. The level of his attention and curiosity is quite high. 
  • Emotional hints: It has been shown that if your dog wags a little to the right it indicates positive emotions whereas a wag to the left indicates negative emotions. In addition to communication tails are also used. 
  • Stability and balance: Watching your dog in slow motion as he turns at high speed will help you see this better.
  • Swimming purposes: Swimming dogs use their tails as steering wheels. Incredible!

Now that you have had a great day with your dog its time to rest. How do your sleep habits differ?

How does dog sleep differ from human sleep?

Humans need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each day.

Dogs’ sleeping habits vary according to their age size personality breed feeding habits and activity level.

In general dogs sleep a lot more than humans most adult dogs sleep from 8 to 13.5 hours each night.

During the day dogs nap for approximately three hours. At night they sleep most of the time.

Puppy pups like human infants sleep about 18 to 20 hours a day to support their brain and body development.

Puppies that are 16 weeks old sleep an average of 11.2 hours per day sometimes even 14 hours.

In contrast to humans dogs sleep for 45 minutes at a time and have only two sleep cycles during this time unlike humans who sleep for about 70 to 120 minutes at a time. 

As a general rule dogs raised in quiet environments sleep more than those raised in more active bustling environments.

Its good to know that dogs can adjust their sleep habits to their environment so they are alert when they need to be and sleep when they do not.

Sleeping dogs probably deep asleep should not be woken as this could cause them to bite unintentionally. Its important to teach kids to never wake up a sleeping dog and to always let animals sleep when they are asleep.

When their sleep is interrupted dogs can also become grumpy.

What other behaviors can we see in sleeping dogs? And what do they mean?

Dogs could whimper twitch or even bark while sleeping in addition to wagging their tails.

There is nothing abnormal about these REM-related behaviors.

Therefore you have nothing to worry about.

However these actions tend to be short and unconscious. In other words if the seizures are longer stronger and more violent then your dog might be having a seizure. Veterinary doctors should be consulted if he has health issues.

Another sleep behavior could be sleeping in a particular position. A dog can sleep in any of the following positions:

  • Belly up: Your dog appears to be relaxed and comfortable in this position. Additionally it could be a sign that he is hot and does not need to conserve energy.
  • Curly ball: Their ancestors held this position in the wild. The animals felt vulnerable to wilder animals so they curled up in a ball to protect their organs and preserve body heat.
  • Undercover: Your dog may prefer to sleep undercover or he may simply need company while he sleeps.
  • Side lay: Dogs generally lie on their sides to rest and just doze but they can also fall deeply asleep in this position.

What have you learned about your dog?

The creatures we keep as pets are fascinating. Even though their behavior is rudimentary they are the closest to humans. 

Therefore do not wake your dog while he is asleep.

Donot startle him if you have to.

You should not always interpret his wags as excitement and make sure he gets enough sleep.

Because you loved him first he will continue to love you. 

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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