Why does my dog chase his tail?
It’s one of those quirky things we’ve seen nearly all dogs do, but have never really understood why! In this article we go through some reasons that could explain this dog quirk.
1. Entertainment and attention
Dogs are the ultimate people-pleasers; they live for affection and attention. Not to forget, they love to make us laugh! Earning praise is their life game and if your dog chased his tail once and got a positive reaction from you, he or she is likely to keep doing it to keep you amused.
2. Prey instinct
Some dogs were bred to chase or retrieve prey. It’s a hard-wired instinct and only takes a hint of a potential object of prey to send them off on their mission. Sometimes, if your dog catches a glimpse of his/her own tail from the corner of its eye, it can be enough to trigger it to leap into action.
3. Personality and breed
Chasing his/her tail could be a dog’s way of expressing its playful side. That’s why puppies sometimes go through a tail-chasing phase where they find fun even in the most mundane activities. Some breeds are also more prone to chasing their tails like the German Shephards.
4. Boredom or anxiety
If your dog doesn’t receive enough physical exercise and mental stimulation, they may chase their tail to keep amused. By talking your dog on a walk daily and providing it with enrichment toys you can make sure your pet is not bored.
Compulsive tail chasing can also be a sign that your dog is experiencing stress or anxiety. If chasing his/her tail provides your dog with comfort or pleasure, it can become habitual. Contact your local vet for advice on treating anxiety.
5. Medical conditions
Sometimes your dog may experience pain or discomfort in their rear end. Blocked or infected glands are a common case. As such, dogs may chase their tails in an attempt to reach and soothe the problem area. Visit your vet if you have any doubts to rule out any medical conditions underlying your dog’s behaviour.