Reason Behind Dogs Chasing Their Own Tails

Occasionally, one may observe a dog chasing its own tail in circles. While this activity appears endearing, it may prompt questions about why dogs engage in such behavior. This article aims to discuss the underlying reasons for this action in dogs.

What Is the Reason and Cause for Chasing the Tail?

Why do dogs engage in tail-chasing? Behaviors appearing charming to humans can sometimes signify underlying issues for canines. Vigilance is essential as there could be significant reasons for this action.

For Puppies

In puppies, a lack of bodily awareness is common, akin to human infants. They often do not realize they possess a tail and, consequently, may find it intriguing and worth chasing.

As these curious puppies grow, the behavior gradually diminishes as they comprehend the tail is a part of their body.

For Adult Dogs

Tail-chasing in puppies is generally out of curiosity, but if this continues into adulthood, scrutiny is needed. Ongoing tail-chasing in adult dogs could signify psychological instability in certain instances.


Sometimes, due to an owner’s preoccupation, a dog might resort to tail-chasing. Frequently, this behavior communicates a desire for attention, signaling “Look at me!” or “Engage with me!” If an owner has previously interacted during such an episode, the dog may repeat the behavior to initiate play.


Caution is advised if a dog chases its tail because of stress. This may happen if the dog faces reprimand for playing with the owner’s items or seeks attention but is ignored. Accumulated loneliness and frustration can trigger tail-chasing as a form of emotional release.

Additionally, dogs adverse to grooming activities like shampooing or nail-trimming might exhibit this behavior due to stress.


Tail-chasing can occur out of boredom, especially if the dog is ignored, confined, or leashed. If this neglect continues, boredom could escalate into stress, emphasizing the importance of moderate interaction.

Unpleasant Sensations

Discomfort near the rear area can also cause tail-chasing. If additional behaviors such as rubbing against surfaces are noticed, there could be an underlying medical issue. Immediate veterinary consultation is recommended, as neglect could exacerbate the condition.


Is There a Possibility of Illness?

When a dog engages in tail-chasing, it could be at risk for physical injury or it may be exhibiting signs of a mental health condition known as obsessive-compulsive disorder. In such cases, the dog tends to feel anxious and restless if not participating in the said behavior. Psychological symptoms often coexist, making stress a key contributing factor; thus, caution is advised.

If afflicted by this disorder, a dog may not only pursue its tail but also habitually lick its skin, possibly resulting in inflammation and dermatological issues. Therefore, vigilance is essential. Effective stress management techniques for dogs include regular walks, adequate exercise, and therapeutic massages. In extreme cases, consultation with a veterinarian for treatment options like antidepressants may be necessary.


Although tail-chasing in dogs may appear endearing, it can also be an indicator of an unstable mental condition. Canines are susceptible to stress when bored, when their activities are restricted, or when they lack physical exercise. Hence, frequent engagement in activities and meaningful interaction are vital for a dog’s overall well-being and happiness.