How to Stop a Dog From Biting Its Tail

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When your dog obsessively chases his tail, you might find his behavior funny to watch. Once he catches his tail, his funny behavior is nothing to laugh about -- he could even bite himself to the point where he causes serious injury. To keep your dog from hurting himself, nip his behavior in the bud: rule out medical conditions, determine why he's biting his tail and offer him alternative ways to release built-up stress. Before you know it, your pet companion will be much too busy to even think about biting his tail!


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Items You Will Need:

• Stimulating toys and chew bones
• Dog treats

Tip # 1 - Talk to a Vet

Consult a veterinarian about your dog's tail-biting fetish.
She can examine and treat your dog for conditions that might trigger his behavior, such as parasites, allergies, skin conditions, epilepsy, infections and injuries.


Tip # 2 - Exercise

Designate at least 30 minutes of your day to giving your dog a workout. Bring your dog outside and run with him, watch him swim, and play fetch with him. Interact with him like the family member that he is. By exercising, your dog uses up energy that he would otherwise spend chasing or biting his tail. It relaxes him and helps keep him calm.

Tip # 3 - Toys and Play

Provide your pet companion with plenty of toys to play with so he forgets all about biting his tail. Food-filled toys and chew bones can prevent boredom and provide hours of entertainment and stimulation. Look for toys and treats that require your dog to chew or lick, because this calms him down.


Tip # 4 - Positive Reinforcement

Observe your dog closely and stop him in his tracks each time he starts going after his tail. Clap your hands to get his attention and if he's trained, tell him to sit. Give him a treat when he sits down. Alternatively, show him a food-filled toy or chew bone and praise him when he stops tail-chasing and redirects his attention. Avoid petting your dog or telling him to stop when he displays the undesired behavior -- any attention you give him will only reinforce his behavior.

Tip # 5 - Don't Confine Him


Confine your pet companion only when it's necessary, because confinement to a small area can trigger the tail-biting habit.

Tip # 6 - If All Fails, Consider Medication

Should all of the above fail, it might be time to ask a veterinarian about medication to combat your dog's behavior. He might prescribe anti-obsessional drugs that reduce your dog's anxiety and make it easier to correct his behavior.

by Kimberly Caines


Resources: Canine Self-Mutilation
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Compulsive Behavior in Dogs
WebMD: Pets: Dogs and Compulsive Scratching, Licking, and Chewing Tail Chasing in Dogs

About the Author
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.