Why do dogs chase their tails?
You’ve seen it countless times as a dog owner or lover, either from clips over the Internet or in real life. Dogs chasing their own tails is a sight to behold, as, at first glance, it appears as if the dog is treating its own tail as prey. Eventually, however, the dog will either give up or catch its “prey”, and chew on it or regret its life decisions altogether.
But did you know that there’s more meaning to chasing your own tail than just doing it for the fun of it? Your dog is smarter than you think, and if they’re chasing their own tail, it may be a sign of something bigger. Here are all the possible explanations as to why your dog loves running around in circles.
Who doesn’t get bored from time to time? Not dogs, that’s for sure. Dogs are incredibly playful creatures, especially the younger ones. They’ll always look for an excuse to play around, whether it be with you, other dogs, or your furniture. They’re attention-seekers, but they can also do just fine by themselves, as they can develop little games that they can play by themselves.
One of the most popular pastimes a bored dog can engage in would be to chase its own tail. Not only does it give the dogs the feeling of the thrill of the hunt, but it also expends its own energy, so it can get rid of that restless feeling it may have had for a while. If you see your dog chasing its tail, and you know it’s just bored, it’s best to just leave it be. It’s probably having the time of its life, and you wouldn’t want to take that away from them, now, would you?
Something’s in their tail
There may be a problem if you see that your dog is chasing its tail even if you know it isn’t bored or in a playful mood. It’s possible that the dog is chasing its tail because there’s something in it (such as ticks or fleas) that is annoying it.
But how do you tell whether or not the dog has something in its tail? You can accomplish this in two different ways. Firstly, if your dog will allow you, try checking its tail when it’s relaxed. Use a flea comb and go through its fur to find any possible parasites that may be living in it. If you spot any, then that’s your cue to head to the nearest vet as soon as possible. The parasites can spread to your other pets too if you have any, which will further complicate things unless you do something about them immediately.
Another roundabout way to tell whether or not there’s something annoying your dog is to watch it as it chases its tail. Wait until the dog either gives up or manages to catch its tail. If you see it catch its tail, try seeing if it begins gnawing. If it’s gnawing its tail for too long, then it may not just be for fun – there might be something bugging it (no pun intended).
They want attention
As mentioned earlier, dogs are attention-seekers. Because of their attention-seeking nature, they’re actually very good at socializing with other animals and humans. They know how to put on an act to make their owners and other people love them. Tail-chasing is one of the ways they can win over the attention of people.
If you’ve ever watched your dog chase its own tail, you may have showered it with love and affection immediately after. If you did, then it’s possible that the dog keeps on chasing its tail to grab your attention again. They know that you love it when they chase their tails, so they do it again, hoping to receive the same praise and affection that they did previously.
Of course, not everybody’s a fan of this. If you know that your dog is just chasing around its tail for attention, and you don’t want them to do so, then there’s a simple solution – ignore them. It may hurt a bit, but giving them attention immediately after will just reinforce the idea that you support the tail chasing. If you don’t give them any form of attention after they chase their tail, they’ll feel less incentivized to do it again in the future. Do this until they stop with the habit. But then again, why would you do that when they look so adorable?
Canine genetics is an interesting topic. Not only are they vast and varied thanks to countless breeding for the past millennia, but they’re also a heavily unexplored subject. Not a lot of research has been poured into the genetics behind dogs and the differences between breeds.
Because of this, it is difficult to explain why certain breeds of dogs, such as the German Shepherd, chase their tails way more often than others. It may have to do something with their ancestry – may be one of their great-great-great-grandparents really loved chasing tails – but we’ll never know for sure.
Related: Best DNA Test Kits for Dogs
It is compelled to do so
OCD is a problem that affects not only humans but also dogs. While only two to three percent of all dogs exhibit OCD-like symptoms, it is still a problem many dogs encounter. One of the possible behaviors that they feel forced to do is to chase their own tail. If you see this being too much of a habit, as well as other OCD-like behavior, it’s best to visit the local vet to find out if your dog has OCD.
There are fewer sights that are funnier to behold than a dog chasing its own tail (dogs wiping their butts on the floor comes really close, though). But depending on why they’re doing it, it may be a sign of something more serious. If the dog’s just having fun, though, then let it chase its tail to its heart’s content. You’ll get a laugh out of it, too.