There’s not much more entertaining than watching your dog chase their tail. It is pretty hilarious to see them spin in circles trying so hard to catch that elusive appendage. However, do you know why they chase? And even more importantly, do you know what to do if it becomes a compulsive problem
It may be a problem if it becomes:
- Causes injury
- Interrupts daily functioning
Why do dogs start chasing their tails in the first place?
It’s pretty natural for a dog to chase their tail and there are several different reasons why they begin this quirky behavior.
Breed & Age
There are certain breeds that are predispositioned to this type of behavior. It often common in German shepherds, terriers and dobermans, especially when they don’t get enough time outdoors. It is normal for puppies to chase their tails, but certain breeds can continue into adulthood. However, some senior dogs will start as they age and develop psychological problems.
It is hard to keep a straight face when your dog is zipping around in circles. That’s why tail chasing easily turns into an attention seeking behavior. The more you react to it, the more they will do it. This goes for both positive and negative reactions.
Sometimes tail chasing is a manifestation of anxiety or other psychological issues. The behavior is comforting, whether it is soothing emotionally or physically (recovering from injury or irritation) for them. It’s hard for them to stop chasing their tail because it makes them feel better.
Lack of exercise
When your dog is cooped up in the house or a crate all day they need exert their energy. And often that comes across as tail chasing. Luckily, if this is the case, the chasing should stop pretty easily as they start to get enough exercise in their daily routine.
Sadly, there can also be various neurological causes behind the whirlwind of tail chasing. It can be a general neurosis, dementia or even epilepsy. That’s why it is always important to talk to your vet about any behavior you dog exhibits that may be concerning.
How you can help
Of course, the first thing you want to do to is to talk to your vet about it. The sooner you can get help the easier it will be to treat. Your dog may need medicine or behavior modification therapy to help kick the habit. But there are a few things you can do at home to help.
- Increase their activity levels, including more or longer daily walks
- Don’t give them any attention for the behavior, positive or negative
- Keep an eye on your dog’s skin to make sure they don’t have fleas or an irritation that may be causing them to give extra attention to their tail
- Give your dog interactive toys like treat puzzles and Kongs to help keep them active
While a dog spinning in circles and chasing their tail can be thought of as one of the most quintessential dog behaviors, it can be a serious problem for some pups. Have you ever had problems with tail-chasing in your dogs? We’d love to hear your stories, the causes and the treatments. Let us know how you dealt with it in the comments below!