DOGS BEHAVIOR

My dog ​​is biting his tail: why and what to do?

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A puppy that bites its tail to play is fun and does not represent any particular disorder, on the other hand, an adult dog that bites its tail excessively can attract the attention of its owners and push them to worry.

We will see here first of all how to differentiate a playing attitude from an attitude caused by physical or emotional discomfort and then we will discuss the solutions to solve this behavior problem. 

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My dog ​​is biting his tail: why?

Several reasons can lead a dog to bite its tail, here are the most common:

Reason # 1: My Dog Bites His Tail To Play

This is one of the main reasons dogs, especially puppies, bite their tails. It is also often visually very funny to observe a dog trying to catch its tail while turning in circles.

This behavior, although sometimes very funny, should not be overlooked and therefore should be watched. Indeed, it is important to observe well if the “game” does not become an excessive self-mutilation, in which case it will indeed be necessary to worry and seek to understand the cause of this behavior.

But in general, this behavior is absolutely not abnormal if it is occasional and especially if the dog in question is a young puppy.

A dog scratching himself

Reason # 2: My Dog Bites His Tail To Groom Himself

As you know, dogs always seem to have difficulty reaching their tails to clean themselves. And yet, the dog’s tail is the area most exposed to various external parasites.

Thus, it is often the itching that causes the dog to bite its tail simply because it annoys it excessively and as an animal considered to be clean, the dog needs to groom itself.

Genius Dog 300 x 600 - Animated

In addition, even when he struggles to reach his tail, he does not have the ability to control the movements of his tail by directing it towards his teeth, which is why sometimes it really feels like the dog “resents” his tail and wishes to bite it: but no, it is simply that he has difficulty reaching it and that this gradually annoys him, so when he gets there: he gives all. 😉

Reason # 3: My dog ​​is biting his tail to overcome an anxiety-provoking situation 

When a dog is in an uncomfortable situation, he may adopt compulsive disorders in an attempt to emotionally unload himself from this famous situation . This will result either in aggression on an object, a congener or a human or in self-harm.

We speak of redirected aggressiveness, either towards the outside or towards itself, which is the case for dogs that bite their tails.

Biting his tail then becomes here a substitute activity to somehow escape a situation that makes him emotionally unstable. This can be due to boredom, unmanaged frustration, intense stress, too much energy, etc.

The most important thing here will be to identify the cause of the surrogate activities of the dog in question instead of just wanting to fix the symptom (ie here: biting its tail) . Because by prohibiting his dog from biting his tail, we will not solve the problem in depth and this means that: either the dog will find another way to unload himself emotionally, or the same pattern will recur, more or less long term.

epilespie-dog

Reason # 4: My Dog Bites His Tail To Get The Attention Of Those Around Him

It also happens that a dog understands very quickly that some of his adopted behavior attracts the attention of those around him, and in particular of his master.

 

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In fact, when a dog “runs after its tail”, in general it makes people laugh or worry: in both cases, all the attention is focused on the dog in question. In fact, since the dog is a social animal that needs interactions, it is quite likely that he quickly understood that biting his tail meant: social interaction with my master!

Here, biting one’s tail then becomes a kind of inter-specific communication ritual (between the master and his dog) . With each attention given, the dog’s behavior is finally reinforced because it is validated by this attention precisely.

Reason # 5: My dog ​​is biting his tail because he is in pain

Beyond the sometimes funny side of this behavior, it is possible that this attitude stems from a real physical and / or emotional discomfort.

This will be the case in particular if the dog does not question moans at the same time as it bites or licks its tail. This can be due to pain from injury, biting, itching from external parasites, irritation that got infected, etc.

In any case, it is always recommended to consult the veterinarian so that he can fully examine your dog to rule out any medical or sometimes even genetic problems.

This is because a dog biting its tail can also be because of genetic reasons, this is called a genetic defect due to neurological dysfunction. I invite you to talk to your veterinarian for more detail. We observe these defects particularly in Bull Terriers or the German Shepherd longhaired.

long-haired-collar

My dog ​​is biting his tail: what to do?

Now let’s go over each of the reasons explained here by detailing some little tips to permanently solve your dog’s tail biting problems.

If your dog bites his tail to play

You can absolutely let it happen, especially for young dogs because this is completely normal behavior . However, watch and do not hesitate to divert your dog’s attention by offering him another activity if he gets too intensely into an unmanageable excitement.

In general, never let a dog get excited for too long on the same activity, always divert his attention to something else and promote games that strengthen the relationship between you and your dog.

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If your dog bites his tail to groom himself

Here again, you can let it happen, but if it becomes too excessive, consult your veterinarian to suggest a possible curative treatment and then preventive treatment against external parasites. You will also need to disinfect all the places where your dog usually lies (his basket, the sofa, the rugs, etc.)

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If your dog bites his tail to overcome an anxiety-provoking situation

Do not hesitate to identify the cause of this anxiety: your absence, the presence of strangers in your home, the change of environment, the trips by car, etc. Many reasons can explain the anxiety of a dog, the trick is to find the cause and then propose an effective work. To do so, do not hesitate to consult a dog trainer to help you in this process.

If your dog bites his tail for attention

It will be important here to no longer pay attention to this kind of behavior. You will therefore have to ignore your dog completely, without looking at him, talking to him or touching him. Clearly, turn your back completely. Once your dog understands that this behavior is no longer causing you anything, he will gradually stop it.

However, your dog may find another behavior to get your attention or even increase the biting of his tail to the point of injuring himself to get your attention.

In these cases, do not hesitate to take more care of your dog, walk him, play with him, etc. and this on a regular basis BUT always being at the initiative of the beginning and the end of each activity, do not wait for it to claim.

If your dog bites his tail because he’s sick

Don’t wait and consult your vet!

By the way, for any of the reasons explained above, whether it’s anxiety, frustration, to get your attention or otherwise: follow each of my tips to solve the problem (ignore, distract, etc. .) but always promote the good health of your pet by going to a veterinarian so that he can treat your dog’s lesion, whether they are present for any reason.

Final words and important recommendations

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