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Stories from My Morning Walks: Wag More, Bark Less

Beagle standing

The bumper sticker said, "Wag more, bark less". I observed it on a recent morning walk. Now I see it daily since I walk by this car on my route. I laughed out loud the first time I saw it. How delightful!

Then I wondered what a waging tail signified in doggy language. I found that it doesn't necessarily mean they are happy. It's a little more complex than that.

If their tail wags more to the left (as pictured above), it is a sign of negativity and you should not approach the dog. They are showing stress and anxiety. If their tail wags more to the right, it is a positive emotion and you can approach the dog. They are in a peaceful, relaxed state of mind.

Broad strokes mean they are happy. Fast strokes mean they are excited. Wow! I never knew there was such a depth to their communication! If their needs are getting met just by the wag of their tail, then I suppose they might not need to bark. Of course their barking has a range of emotions as well.

The more I pondered the thought of "wag more, bark less", my mind kept returning to the state of our nation. I'm not going to make a joke about the direction of their tail and their meaning, although I'm very tempted! Suffice it is to say that we could learn a lesson from the dogs.

There has been far too much barking. We all know what happens after the dog barks if he is in a state of stress. He may bite. Wisdom tells us not to approach a barking dog for this very purpose. The same is true of our kids. Don't get in their personal space if they are in a high state of stress. I did this once and got a jab in the face!

We could all use the benefits from pondering the way we communicate. For a more peaceful nation, we should observe if are we communicating kindly with our children, spouses and neighbors. I say, let peace and happiness begin with me. I pledge to wag more and bark less.

See you next week for more "Stories from My Morning Walks" here at

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