Why does my dog Chase his Tail?
Author: Scott Jeffrey
Scott is a professional blogger with 12+ years of experience in writing, and holds an MA in anthropology. He has two cats as housemates. Also, Scott is passionate to research on pet-related topics such as dog training, puppy feeding, and cat health.View all 10 articles Learn about our editorial process and veterinary review board.
Updated on: 11/18/2020
One of the most interesting observable behaviors that many dogs show is the idea of chasing their tails. Although we may laugh or even film are dogs as they go crazy chasing at their tails, there are some reasons why your favorite four-legged pet is choosing to chase their tail.
Why do dogs chase their tails?
Chasing a tail can come down to a few different reasons. Dogs can often start to partake in this type of behavior when they feel a few ways.
Here are some of the main reasons that dogs start chasing their tails:
Your dog may begin to pursue their tail if they are starting to feel bored. When dogs spend too much time staring at the same four walls or even laying on the couch, they begin to get bored. Dogs will start to find new ways to amuse themselves and get rid of some of their pent-up energy. Regular tail chasing could be a sign that your dog isn’t getting enough engagement or enough exercise.
Older dogs will actually start to chew their tails due to decreased awareness. It can be a comforting feeling, and as an older dog begins to chew their tail, this can show that they are seeking comfort or attempting to take their mind off of something else.
Young puppies will often start to chase their tails as a means of awareness. Many copies find it challenging to remember that their tail is following up, and catching a glimpse of their tail behind them can be all it takes for them to consider pulling back and giving it a good bite.
3. Seeking attention
When you start to reinforce tail chasing is a positive behavior, it’s not too surprising when your dog will begin to perform this behavior as a means to get a treat. If you notice when your dog starts to chase the tail, there is a good chance that they will keep chasing their tail to capture your attention so that you play with them more often.
Dogs can respond to negative and positive attention, so if you choose to school at your dog when they are chasing their tail too much, this could leave to a different type of reinforcement or start seeking negative behaviors to take up the space of tail chasing.
4. Medical reasons
If your dog starts to chase their tail or bite at their tail, this could also be a sign of other discomforts. Dogs will often continue to chew at an irritated or painful area, if your dog has their tail caught in a door or another problem with their tail, they could continue to chew and chase their tail to suit their injury.
Dogs will also chase their tails when they are infested with parasites like intestinal parasites. Tail chasing is a behavior that can help to move tapeworms and make them migrate out of the rectum.
Fleas or food allergens can also lead to tail chasing, as this is an indication that your dog is itchy or irritated. Treating the area with cream or seeing a vet is important if you think tail chasing is related to a medical issue.
5. Compulsive behaviors
Compulsive behaviors also present a chance that your dog will perform tail chasing. Also, according to the World Dog Finder, it needs to remember that tail chasing is not always a sign of happiness. Some dogs can suffer from an obsessive-compulsive disorder, just like humans. This behavior can manifest those items like tail chasing if your dog suffers from something like separation anxiety or another form of the disorder.
Regardless of the factor that initiates the chase, dogs that continue to chase tails compulsively may be doing it as a result of some type of trauma.
Do dogs get dizzy from chasing their tails?
Dog’s don’t tend to get as dizzy as humans, but they can experience the same symptoms. Dogs have a much better sense of balance, but signs like walking in circles, vomiting, or eyes flickering from side to side suggest that your dog has gotten dizzy.
Most dogs can control their balance and react far better than humans when they spin around. It’s also important to notice the signs of changes in the vestibular system that could cause a dog to resort to spinning behavior more often.
When dogs have their inner ear affected, this can lead to more tail-chasing behavior because they will be regularly affected by their dizziness. Dogs can get sick or even vomit as a result of their constant spinning.
Yeast and bacteria can regularly grow in a dog’s ears, which often leads to damage to the vestibular system. If you are worried that your dog could have a problem with circling, it’s important to speak to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Circling can continue to cause a series of behavioral problems as your dog ages. Managing problems with the inner ear and making sure to keep your dogs here clean will help to prevent this dizziness.
How do you Stop a dog from chasing its Tail?
If you would like to discourage behaviors that cause your dog to chase their tail, there are some ways that you can proceed:
1. Go to the vet
If you suspect that the tail-chasing could have something to do with a medical problem, it’s essential to rule out this underlying reason before proceeding with the behavior correction. Behavioral training will not be valid if the tail-chasing behavior is due to an untreated medical condition. Bringing your dog into a veterinarian’s office to diagnose a medical issue associated with tail chasing behavior is important.
As soon as your dog starts to chase their tail, offer up some type of distraction. Keeping a toy close by, giving your dog food, treats, and attention to make them stop can be an essential way to stop tail chasing. When you establish a command to stop tail chasing or distract your dog, it can make sure that your pet can do something other than chasing their tail whenever they start the behavior. Your dog will eventually get the idea that this behavior is something negative.
3. Keep your dog engaged
When your dog is bored, they are much more likely to partake in this type of behavior. Dogs were able to get more physical and mental exercise will often become too tired to engage in this type of behavior. Some of the best activities that you should consider to keep your dog engaged include daily walks, playing with them and their toys, regular visits to the dog park, taking part in agility, and more.
4. Focused training
If you once rewarded your pet for chasing their tail with attention every time that they did it, they could be time for you to retrain your dog with some new behaviors. Each time that your pet is doing something other than chasing their tail, give them a reward. Don’t react each time they chase their tail and soon realize that this is no longer a behavior worthy of rewards. Not reacting to this behavior or rewarding it will make sure that you can shape new behaviors within your pet.
Why does my Dog try to Bite its Tail?
When your dog is biting its tail, there is a much better sign that they are facing some type of medical issue or irritation with their tail. As mentioned before, dogs can often bite their tail as a means of discovery when they are younger or as a means of comfort when they are older.
If areas of your dog’s tail start to look irritated or bare from fur, you may want to consider visiting the vet to identify what could affect your dog’s tail. A host of items, including fleas, tapeworms, and more could all be affecting your dog’s tail and causing irritation. If you notice your dog biting or chewing on its tail as an ongoing problem, it could be wise for you to consider treating your dog with a topical ointment as recommended by your vet.
Tail biting behavior can often be detrimental to your pet’s health. If they regularly engage in tail biting, this could be the sign of a greater issue, and it can lead to greater irritation and problems with their overall health.
Although tail biting is not something that we fully understand as humans, we can take efforts to reduce this behavior, especially when it turns from innocent discovery into a medical issue or ongoing sign for help.
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