Why do dogs chase their tails?

why do dogs chase their tails

We’ve all seen it, that comic moment when your dog runs around in a circle trying to catch its own tail. We sit there wondering whether they know it’s a body part, or whether they think it’s a pesky toy that’s been following them for years.

Either way, it’s entertaining for us to watch. So, why do dogs chase their tails? Is it simply because it’s as fun as it looks? Or could it be a sign of something else?

They’re bored!

Dogs need a lot of physical and mental activity. They can have really high energy levels. If this energy isn’t put into long walks, catching a ball, or mental games then they’ll start to find their own entertainment.

This might be chasing their tail or something a little more destructive – like digging up your new carpet.

If you think your dog is chasing its tail due to boredom, there are lots of things you can do to fix the problem. Try to avoid leaving your dog at home alone for long periods of time and make sure they get enough outdoor exercise.

This can include a good walk, a run in the doggie park with their friends, and playing catch. Make sure they also have enough mental stimulation such as training and brain puzzles.

They really are just having fun!

It can be exactly what it looks like. When your dog chases its tail, it really is just entertaining itself. In the same way they like to chase other small fluffy things, their tail is no different.

In fact, it’s better because, for some reason, it’s just as fast as they are and offers a little more competition!

Discovery

It’s quite normal for puppies to chase their tail.

Anyone who has had one knows exactly how much they like to discover their new and exciting world with their mouths. Your shoes certainly know it. They also explore their bodies by licking and nipping.

Just like toddlers who put absolutely everything in their mouths, young pups often learn about their surroundings through this behavior too.

You might notice that your puppy grows out of chasing its tail at some point. That’s totally normal, and often comes after they’ve caught it one too many times!

Attention

Dogs love getting positive attention from us and it’s a great tool to use to reinforce good behavior in them.

When they learn a new command or trick, we reward them by smiling and stroking them. Likewise, when they do something funny, such as chasing their tails, laughing encourages them to keep doing it.

If you suspect your pup is a bit of an attention seeker and you want them to stop chasing their tail, the best way to do it is by ignoring them. Try not to give them what they want and they’ll soon get bored.

Something Medical?

Another reason why dogs chase their tails could be something medical. Rather than just trying to chase them, they could really be trying to catch their tail to lick it.

This is most likely if they have an infestation or skin irritation. Fleas and ticks could be one such infestation that could be aggravating them. Check your pup’s coat for signs (such as small, brown, and black specks), and make sure you treat them regularly. 

If you think your pup is chasing its tail because of a skin problem, take them to the vet to get it checked out.

Anxiety

A further medical condition could be anxious or compulsive behavior. Dogs who suffer from separation anxiety or past trauma could express their anxiety by chasing their tails. Repetitive actions (in this case going round and round) can sometimes soothe their nervous behavior. 

It’s important to make sure your pup is well socialized, has enough room to play in, and gets plenty of positive attention. If you notice that your dog suddenly starts chasing its tail and the behavior is new, take them to a vet just to check.

Does your dog chase its tail? Is it normal behavior for them? Tell us in the comments below!

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