Dogs chasing their own tail … many dog ??owners see this as an innocent dog game, but it is often not. Puppies that chase their own tail often do this out of playfulness. They suddenly discover that they have a tail and find this to be very interesting. But if an adult dog starts to show this behavior, then something is seriously wrong. It is often an expression of serious psychological problems. The chasing of the tail often starts with playfulness, but often quickly turns into a big problem. If it is allowed, or worse, encouraged it can turn into obsessive behavior. A dog will hunt its tail and sometimes even damage it to blood. And once pursuing adopts obsessive forms, then this behavior is often very difficult to learn. Getting angry and punishing is often pointless, in many cases the behavior will only increase.
Causes of tail hunting
The chasing of your own tail is often a sign of great stress and frustration. But boredom, too little exercise and a lack of intellectual challenge can also be causes that lead to tail hunting. A dog that is not in good shape can find compensation in chasing its own tail. As soon as a dog shows this behavior, immediately stop him and stop it becoming an obsession.
Unlearning tail hunting
Unlearning the chasing of the tail is often a difficult task, which requires a lot of time and energy. The most important thing in unlearning is finding out the cause of the behavior and taking it away. Only then can the dog’s behavior be unlearned. Unlearning can be a difficult task and it is therefore wise to call in the assistance of a behavior expert.
A dog must always have enough possibilities to lose his energy. Make plenty of walks and the dog offers plenty of opportunities to move. Also make sure that the dog has sufficient intellectual challenge, for example through spur games. A dog is naturally a pack animal that needs companionship and attention. Let him feel more part of the family and involve him sufficiently in the daily activities within the family.
Other expressions of stress
Not only the chasing of the tail is an expression of stress behavior, but there are also other ways in which a dog can express psychological problems. A dog can:
Obsessive licking of certain spots in the coat
Suck on the flank skin
Bald plucking the fur
Walking back and forth in the same pattern
The pursuit of imaginary objects or (own) shadows.