Have you ever noticed with your dog or another dog that dogs spin around like crazy trying to chase their tail? If so, have you ever wondered why dogs chase their tails if the behavior is typical, or what can you do about it?
Dogs chase their tail, among other things, when they are excited or stressed due to insufficient exercise. It is unnatural and creates unhealthy stress for a dog. This behavior should be stopped in it happens more often or becomes extreme. It is not natural and creates harmful stress for a dog.
Table of Contents
Reasons why dogs chase their tail!
There are different reasons why dogs chase their tail. They all have one thing in common: the behavior is not normal, and you should stop it and work on it in parallel so that your dog does not feel the urge to chase his tail anymore.
Dogs with too little exercise chase their tail.
Dogs chase their tail when they are stressed. This is how they dissipate excess energy.
Especially in active dogs, like herding dogs or even terriers, you see this behavior more often. If the dogs have too little exercise, this misbehavior builds up as an outlet to relieve stress and provide exercise simultaneously.
It would help if you urgently did more with your dog. Take long walks in the woods or, depending on the breed, agility or Frisbee for dogs is a great way to exercise your dog.
Make sure you vary the walk and give your dog time to sniff around or let him run off-leash if necessary. If the recall does not work well or your dog has hunting instincts, you can also use a dragline.
With our Cane Corso, we often walk with a 20-meter-long drag leash, giving her a particular possibility to move freely.
It would be best if you used a harness with the dragline. If your dog does take a running start and jumps fully into the leash, a collar can cause serious injury.
Mental exercise is also essential.
In addition to physical exercise, mental occupation is just as important. If your dog is not mentally exercised, it may be why he is chasing his tail.
Exercising a dog mentally is not that complicated. Just practicing and executing basic commands is a great way. But frustration tolerance exercises are also good to tire your dog out.
How exhausting do you think it is for your dog when you are standing somewhere and he has to stand quietly next to you. He should not be able to sniff around or move within the leash. He should stay still right next to your leg. If he moves away, you bring him back to you without comment.
This strengthens your leadership role, and your dog learns to deal better with frustration – nothing is happening now. At the same time, it is very exhausting. With our Cane Corso, it comes quickly to the typical yawning.
Your dog chases his tail because he is bored.
Does your dog have to stay alone for a long time every day? This can lead to boredom and separation anxiety, and tail chasing is a symptom.
You must teach your dog to stay alone from the beginning even if it is not necessary for your current life situation because you may take him to work every day.
At some point, your life circumstances may change, and your dog suddenly has to stay alone for several hours. But then he can’t, is stressed, and develops misbehavior such as chasing his tail.
The dog chases his tail because he wants attention.
Dogs are not stupid. They know exactly how to get our attention and especially from whom. They learn from whom they get something at the table and from whom they do not.
Likewise, they learn they get attention when they wildly chase their tail. The dog might take that as validation and appropriate behavior. You might laugh and call his name.
Medical problems or parasites lead to tail chasing.
Another reason why your dog chases his tail can be medical problems. He may not primarily want to chase his tail, but he may wish to itch his rear end to get relief.
Fleas, parasites, or anal gland problems may be the cause. Your dog wants to get to his tail or rear end to relieve the itch.
A visit to your veterinarian is recommended.
Is it bad when dogs chase their tail?
In no way is it natural dog behavior for dogs to chase their tails.
If it happens out of play, it is harmless. However, if your dog chases his tail frequently or regularly, you should act and stop it.
Tail chasing can also develop into an obsessive-compulsive disorder in dogs. It simply puts stress on your dog and is not healthy. You should work on stopping your dog’s desire to chase his tail.
Take action when dogs chase their tails too often!
If your dog often chases his tail, you should work on the problem because this is not normal and healthy!
First of all, you should stop the behavior. A short nudge in the side or an appropriate command is usually enough. It is just important to get him out of the situation.
Then you should work in parallel because your dog has no more desire to show this behavior.
Make sure he has enough exercise and mental activity. Dogs that are not kept busy in the long run develop misbehavior. Either they bark significantly more, become aggressive or start chasing their tail.
Don’t leave your dog alone for long periods if you haven’t set it up properly. Start with brief periods and increase from time to time. If your dog has never had to be alone and suddenly has to be left alone for several hours, it can cause extreme stress.
Check your dog for fleas or other parasites, or have your vet check him thoroughly to ensure nothing is itching.
Important: If your dog chases his tail, don’t take him for a walk. Get him out of the situation and wait 10 to 15 minutes, so he doesn’t associate the walk with chasing his tail. This confirms his behavior because he gets exactly what he wants by his misbehavior—a walk.
Conclusion: Why is your dog chasing his tail?
When your dog chases his tail, it is not normal, and it is not funny. It is misbehavior that is shown for a wide variety of reasons. Often it is simply boredom due to too little exercise and mental activity. Your dog is stressed, and stress is never healthy. If it becomes too extreme, it can become an obsessive-compulsive disorder.
@ londondeposit-depositphotos.com (Contributing image)