Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails

Cute dog chasing his own tail.

Elevated view of Jack Russell terrier chasing tail view on grass

Chasing tails, it’s one of the most entertaining things a dog can do. Actually, it is so amusing that you can find tons of YouTube videos of them at any given moment. It is a sight that brings a smile to almost everyone’s face. But, did you ever stop to wonder why do they do it? And if they do it compulsively, is it a serious problem?

Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails? 

  • Boredom – More often than not your dog will chase their tail because they are bored. It’s just a fun little game they play when they want to have fun and burn off some energy. It’s usually picked up during the puppy stage and can continue to young-doghood. Puppies sometimes don’t even understand that their tails are actually attached to them and see it as a toy which leads to the fun chasing game.

  • Attention – When your dog chases their tail, we stop to giggle and clap, even encourage it at times. This can cause them to want to continue the behavior for attention. What started as a simple exploration game can turn into attention seeking behavior. You may find your dog doing this whenever he wants you to notice and play with him.
  • Underlying Issues – Sometimes your dog will go after their tail a lot when there is something wrong. They can nip and chew on their tails when they have fleas, worms, or may another medical issue. If you think something is wrong then make sure to talk to your vet.
  • Genetics – It’s true that certain breed actually like to chase their tails more than others, even as they grow out of puppyhood. Breeds like German shepherds, terriers and dogs that are kept indoors can tend to chase their tails more than others.
  • Compulsion – Occasionally dogs can develop a compulsive disorder where they feel the need to chase their tail. Behavioral problems, such as anxiety, injury, trauma, confinement or abuse can lead to compulsive tail chasing.

Tail chasing is fun and adorable, there is no doubt in that. However, if you believe that your dog is doing it for any other reason other than for fun then contact your vet. They can help you address any underlying medical or behavioral issues that may be the cause.

Does your dog chase his or her tail? We’d love to hear about your stories. Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page!

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