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Why Is Your Dog Tail Chasing?


It is entertaining to watch, and many people wonder what it means. Well, it might surprise you to know that your pooch may have a good reason for tail chasing.

To Please You

When you react favourably to something that your pet does you will find that they will start mimicking that behaviour in an attempt to please you. After all, our pets love to make us happy, so if you have praised them once for chasing their tail the chances are that they will do it again for this very reason!

Prey Drive

Some dogs are prone to want to chase anything that moves quickly. It might just take a flash of movement to set them off, and a wagging tail may be all they need to satisfy the urge to chase.


Tail chasing may be a form of burning energy for dogs that do not receive enough in the way of walks and mental stimulation. It is important to walk your dog at least once a day, especially if they are left alone for long periods of time. Puzzle toys are also a great form of brain exercise that will keep them busy during lonely hours.


As well as lifestyle, some breeds are more prone to chasing their tail than others. German Shepherds and Bull Terriers are among a few of the breeds that can develop obsessive compulsive disorders easily. Puppies are also prone to enjoying some tail chasing at some point of their development, but it often phases out as they mature.

Medical Conditions

On a more serious note, pain or discomfort around your dog’s rear end may be the cause of them trying to grab that tail, if just to ease discomfort. If they have impacted or infected anal glands, for example, there may be considerable pain and they will need to see their vet to have them expressed. Neurological diseases can also be associated with tail chasing, but these are not very common. If you have any concerns please speak to your local vet for advice.


Some dogs will chase their tail because they are anxious or stressed. It can be a sign of poor socialisation, conflicting emotions or dogs that have been tied up and/or forced to stay in small, confined spaces.

Tail chasing is most commonly a harmless activity, but if you ever have concern about your dog’s habits it is best to speak to Pet Doctors or pet behaviourist for more advice.

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