Dog Training and Dog Care advice from UK Professionals

Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tail?

Selected Article

Why Does My Dog Chase its Tail? Generally a dog chases its tail simply because it is happy, excited and energetic and such behaviour is a normal component of play.

This is similar to the human behaviour of tapping fingers, or whistling. It is a release of energy, and does not always mean something is wrong, but it can do if a dog does it excessively or over-anxiously.

Some dog breeds do this far more than others, but all dogs can display this behaviour at times, though it should not be a common occurrence in most dogs.

Problems occur if the behaviour becomes obsessive with the dog chasing its tail round and round despite being distracted by the owner. This is sometimes defined as stereotypic behaviour, a term used to describe a ritualistic repetitive sequence of movements which serve no purpose. In some cases the dog will continue whirling round even if it injures itself. I don’t fully agree that it is without a purpose, as I don’t believe a dog does anything for absolutely no purpose whatsoever unless it has a medical or neurological condition of some kind. At the very least, its a release of energy or sometimes stress, and it can be purely down to playfulness of character or possibly something more sinister.

The owner may unwittingly encourage the behaviour as any attention can be interpreted by the dog as a positive reinforcer. The dog chases its tail, the owner tries to stop or distract the animal. The dog finds the attention highly rewarding and chases its tail even more.

The Border Collie Owner's Guide eBook

Another reason a dog will chase its tail is through boredom. If the dog is left alone for long periods or does not receive sufficient exercise it may chase its tail to rid itself of excess energy and this is something which can lead to more worrying problems or can even be a signal of one already present in the dog, such as separation anxiety.

In rare cases, tail chasing may be a sign of a neurological condition. Excessive tail chasing has been linked to psychomotor epilepsy.

Tail chasing is more common in certain breeds such as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. This points to a possible indication that there may be a hereditary pattern or predisposition to this activity. It may also be that certain sized dogs are more prone to it because the tail is in easier reach due to the size or flexibility of the breed, or indeed the simple playful character of certain breeds.

It is not usually something to worry about unless you can’t stop it occurring by channelling the dog’s energy into something else like a toy. If in doubt you should always seek professional veterinary advice.

K9 Shop... View Cart

Why Do Dogs Bark?
Why Do Dogs Bark At Postman?
Why Do Dogs Become Aggressive?
Why Do Dogs Become Nervous?
Why Do Dogs Chase Cars?
Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails?
Why Do Dogs Chew?
Why Do Dogs Dig Holes?
Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
Why Do Dogs Eat Poo / Faeces?
Why Do Dogs Get Fleas?
Why Do Dogs Get Worms?
Why Do Dogs Jump Up?
Why Do Dogs Mount Other Dogs?
Why Do Dogs Not Come Back When Called?
Why Do Dogs Not Listen To Me?
Why Do Dogs Pant?
Why Do Dogs Pee When Frightened?
Why Do Dogs Run Away?
Why Do Dogs Sniff Things?

Share this K9Obedience page

Free Email Tips
Today's 2 FREE Gifts...

Free Dog EbookGet our
most popular
Dog eBook

Free 'Your Dogs' pageClaim a
'Your Dogs'
page FREE!

Just sign up for our FREE Dog Training Tips below...
(More Information)

Your Name:
Your Email:
Dog's Name:
Hot Products
Doberman Guide Doberman Owner's Guide
Border Collie Guide Border Collie Owner's Guide
Best Selling Dog Training Course Best Selling
Dog Training
Ultimate Dog House Training Guide Ultimate Dog
House Training
Dog Health Home Guide
To Dog Health
Secret Deadly Ingredients of Dog Food Secret Deadly
of Dog Food
Get a FREE Webpage for your dog! Get a FREE
Webpage for
your dog! Your Dogs Page Vet Secrets -
Home Vet Care
Extra Features
About Us
Tell A Friend
Bookmark Us
Submit Articles
Terms of Use
Dogs Start Page
Dog Insurance
Related Sites
Get our Most Popular Dog eBook FREE Today!
Copyright ©2009
All Rights Reserved Worldwide
Site by FAD