There is no denying it. Dogs chasing their tails is one of the cutest and most hilarious things out there. It’s not just for your puppy who still can't figure out exactly what their tail is; nor is it just for your active & playful dog. So why do dogs chase their tails? We have a few theories:
For some dog breeds such as Bull Terriers, Dobermans & German Shepherds tail chasing is much more than just a good way to kill 5 minutes inside when it’s raining.
These breeds are known for them to have a genetic predisposition to chase their tails. For these breeds, tail chasing is a way of life, not a lifestyle choice.
Just like humans, dogs get bored too. Especially when it is a rainy day and they can't go frolic outside. It’s not uncommon to catch both puppies & the older generation spinning around in circles for minutes on end to get that sweet sweet trophy that is their tail. Although a lot of dogs will grow out of this game... sadly leaving you without entertainment.
Is your dog excessively chasing its tail? Is your dog missing its tail and just going in with a bite to its hind? This could be a sign that they have fleas or worms.
For older dogs that are not so playful anymore, this can be a real strong sign something is up. Be sure to get in touch with your vet right away if you do have concerns that your dog does have fleas, fleas can be horribly uncomfortable for any pet.
Sometimes all your dog wants is a little attention... and they know just how to get it. Your dog knows that being all cute and chasing its tail will get you excited and want to play with it.
Go on cave under the pressure, throw a ball for it to chase, get its favourite stick out or give them a good old fashioned belly rub they will love you for it! This is what we have found the most likely answer to the question: 'Why do dogs chase their tails?'
Some breeds of dog are naturally energetic and need to be exercised often. Breeds such as Siberian Huskies, Weimaraners, Border Collies, Dalmatians are known to need lots of exercise and when they don't get it can use resort to games like chasing their tail to let out some of that energy. If you notice is chasing its tail (and everything else in sight) it's definitely time to take them for a run!
Like humans, dogs can suffer from OCD. Compulsive disorders can be caused by physical abuse, confinement, separation anxiety, past injury and/or trauma. With every nerve-racking event that your dog goes through, there's a unharness of neurotransmitters attached the strain response.
Once a dog is annoyed or stressed, he could begin to perform a standard behavior like chasing their tail to alleviate that stress. If chasing their tail truly reduces the neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) attached the nerve-racking event, the dog is probably going to keep doing it more & more once he's stressed.
For a few dogs, this behavior becomes a ritualized and repetitive attributable to the reward that's associated; reduction of the physiological feeling of stress or frustration.
Over time, compulsive behaviors progress and get worse. Dogs usually begin to perform the compulsive behavior with any nerve-racking event, not simply the original scenario.
The behavior can end up taking over the dog’s life, sleep, and feeding habits. It can end up causing injury to the dog because the impulse to perform the actual behavior becomes stronger and stronger. If you think your dog may have a compulsive disorder get in touch with your vet right away! You could save your dogs sanity!
If you have your own answer to 'why do dogs chase their tails' please leave a comment below.
I have an obsession with travel and caring for animals. When I am not entertaining animals you will find me lurking a market, skateboarding, drinking red wine or eating cheese!