Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails?

Okay, so maybe watching a dog chase her tail can be rivaled by very little when it comes to cuteness. But, do dogs chase their tails for a reason or is tail chasing just a natural instinct that all dogs have?  Not all dogs chase their tails but those that do may be chasing their tails for one of several reasons.

What is that back there?

Have you ever seen a puppy chase her own tail? She catches sight of her tail out of the corner of her eye and begins to spin in circles, trying to catch her tail. Puppies, at least when they are very young, don’t know they have a tail. So, when your puppy discovers her tail, she is going to want to catch it and check it out.

Tail chasing is typically just a phase that most puppies grow out of as they get older. If your dog does not grow out of the tail chasing, she may be chasing her tail for another reason, which may or may not be quite as cute.

Is your dog sick?

Sometimes a dog chasing her tail is an indication that something is wrong health-wise. Your dog may be suffering with painful flea bites or worms or she may have some sort of illness. If you notice your dog constantly chasing her tail and trying to bite it, make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Is your dog bored and/or frustrated?

Does your dog spend a lot of time locked up in a crate? Does she spend a lot of time in a confined space? A dog confined for too long and too often may become bored and frustrated. That boredom and frustration may present itself as your dog chasing her tail. If you think your dog is chasing her tail because she’s confined to too small of a space, give her more space to see if the behavior decreases.

A bored dog, who simply doesn’t get enough mental and physical stimulation, may also use tail chasing as a way to combat that boredom. Does your dog have enough toys? If she does, try rotating her toys. Give her a few one day. Take them away the next day, replacing them with other toys. That may just help with the tail chasing.

Is your dog being a clown?

Sometimes there’s absolutely no negative reason your dog is chasing her tail. Maybe your dog is just a clown who likes to see you laugh. If your dog gets a positive reaction when she chases her tail – such as laughter or applause – she may just love all that attention. So, when she sees you or wants some positive attention, she may just start chasing her tail to see your reaction.

If your dog chases her tail on a regular basis, try to figure out why. If she’s not a puppy who has just discovered her tail or she’s not just a clown, you may need to take action to determine the cause and to find a solution.

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