Dog chasing its tail, is it a sign of a problem?

  Bingalau 10:15 01 Jun 2010
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My grand-daughter's Bichon Frise dog is chasing its own tail and from way back in my youth I seem to remember someone saying it is a sign of something or other. Any animal experts on here with an answer please? Just in case!

  Al94 10:19 01 Jun 2010

There are a number of dog lovers and experts who believe that dogs chase their tails for one reason. The dogs are bored. Essentially, there is nothing going on that captures the dog’s attention. When the animal catches sight of the tail on the edges of the line of vision, the movement captures the attention of the dog. The idea that the tail is attached is not really a consideration, but the movement and the chance for some physical and mental activity is attractive. If your dogs chase their tails frequently, it may be time to provide some other amusements that will occupy the pet’s attention.

A basic in the behavior pattern of many household dogs is a desire to receive attention and affection from their owners. There is a possibility that the dog has learned that when dogs chase their tails, owners pay attention and often respond by laughter. Since the behavior produces an effect that the animal finds highly desirable, the tail chasing may be repeated when the pet wants to be petted or hear a kind tone from the owner.

Dogs may also choose to chase their tails because there is physical discomfort of some type. Fleas may be present on the tip or the base of the tail. It is also possible that some sort of irritation in the area of the anus is causing itching or some other form of discomfort. Dog behavior demands that the animal attempt to address the origin of the discomfort, so the chase is on. If a physical complaint is suspected of being the origin of why your dogs chase their tails, a trip to the vet will help alleviate both the activity and the suffering that causes the behavior.

  Bingalau 10:28 01 Jun 2010

Thanks for that Al94. I will see if I can relieve its boredom for a start. It could well be just that as it has been ignored all morning so far. I have only got the dog and it's owner, my grand-daughter here for the one night and she takes it back home after lunch today.. But it was just at the back of my memory, maybe someone had told me that a dog behaving that way had fleas. I can't remember. Thanks anyway...

  Quickbeam 10:29 01 Jun 2010

It's the same as when mine drops a tennis ball at my feet and stares me out when I think I can have a relaxing moment. The play with me vibes start to take effect. If I make eye contact the tail starts to go furiously, what's left of it anyway as it's docked, then the pawing starts. If I don't make eye contact, she takes the ball to my other side and back again.

She always wins... that's the female of the species for you:)

  jack 10:52 01 Jun 2010

My daughter has a dog and she also looks after two whilst owners are at work.
Daughters beast and one of the others when attention seeking- which is frequent- simply comes to one and nudges the leg with their back and and look round with that 'Scratch me there please' look in the eye.
The other will give a peiecing look with her big eyes and give a little 'yelp' or pick up a toy and dares you to take it way with much growling.
They are all individual and have their little ways .

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