In addition to creating a holy empire, ancient Romans gave us the unholy practice of tail docking. They also thought that removing the tail would strengthen the dog’s back and increase … If your pet is standing on the vet's table with his tail in this position, he may just be giving in to the whole situation. Rather, it's a sign that your dogs are getting along well in the multi-dog household according to All Boxer Info. That’s because the tail DOES have pain receptors, but they do not react the same when relaxed as when excited. If your dog becomes extremely anxious during thunderstorms or fireworks, for instance, consider using a Thundershirt anxiety and calming aid for dogs. Sometimes, a dog chasing their tail can just be a normal behavioral act. When the tail points forward between the legs it prevents the dog from releasing its scent. Even though we sometimes wish that our dogs could speak to us, dogs are great communicators and their tails play a … Oftentimes, dogs will chase their tails because they are a bit bored; it’s a way for them to have fun and expend some energy. Something dogs to in order to mark their territory. Your doggie is feeling like a nervous wreck about his present situation, and literally isn't sure of what to do with his body. Make a regular habit out of taking him outside with his favorite dog toys a couple times a day, and take him on an extra-long walk a few times a week. Or, your dog may chase his tail when he feels overcome with anxiety when a stranger approaches the house or during a loud thunderstorm. 8 – All right, let’s talk about a few more examples of how a dog carries its tail. The Best Friends Animal Society notes that a tail tucked below may mean that a dog is worried about something. If your dog's tail is tucked under and he also slowly steps away from someone or something, this may indicate severe stress. Your dog will come sit on you, perhaps bringing a toy or showing his belly, when he wants some playtime and attention. If your pet is standing on the vet's table with his tail in this position, he may just be giving in to the whole situation. But as adults, tail chasing could be a sign of boredom or a sign of an underlying physical condition that needs to be addressed (Burn, 2011). If your dog gets anxious when someone walks by the house or an animal comes into the backyard, Hartstein recommends diverting his attention with a rousing game of fetch with his favorite toy. Since dogs are domesticated, they also use their tails to communicate with humans. Compulsive tail-biting can also be caused by canine compulsive disorder (CCD), says Dr. Liff. “It’s fun! He also loves to chase his tail, an action that sends him spinning in dizzying circles. “It’s fun! He chases a tennis ball for hours on end and barks at every squirrel that enters his backyard. Dogs get stressed in different situations, but a typical sign of stress is hiding the tail. Tail-chasing might just be a reflection of your dog’s fun and spunky personality. If both dogs are nonchalant about the behavior, it's no cause for concern. However, if he’s doing this frequently or whining, it may mean you need to spend more time with your pooch, giving him … He probably realizes that he's powerless, and is basically communicating -- via his tail -- that he surrenders. Featured Image: iStock.com/Alona Rjabceva, dog becomes extremely anxious during thunderstorms or fireworks, Thundershirt anxiety and calming aid for dogs, HomeoPet anxiety relief animal supplement, VetriScience Composure behavioral health dog chews. If your dog is feeling a little bored, he might just come up with a fun tail-chasing game to keep himself occupied. I don’t know why cats overall sit on their tails, because I am merely one cat amongst many, but I will definitely let you know why I like to place my left paw on my tail. This dog behavior is considered abnormal when it interferes with your pet’s basic life functioning and is causing harm, according to Hartstein. Dogs Wagging Their Tails in Different Directions. Is it a normal dog behavior or the result of anxiety or something else? Dogs like greyhounds and whippets have long, strong tails that taper and curl under their bodies when they’re relaxed. A broad, smooth, sweeping tail (not tucked or high) means the dog is currently relaxed and comfortable Helicopter tail (the type that moves in circular motions) is normally reserved for people your dog knows and for their close doggy friends. Just like obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) can manifest in humans as obsessive cleaning or counting, CCD in dogs can lead to compulsive tail-chasing, fur-licking, or fabric-sucking. Dogs do have bones in their tails. They direct their tail to help steer . Look at his ears for another clue that he's feeling this way. Forget the myth that any kind of tail wagging from a canine is a sign of happiness, as your dog may be using their tail to send a warning message. Wagging tails, however, do not always mean friendly dogs. A happy dog will wag their tail and an angry dog will have an erect or fluffed up tail. Your Dog May Sit At Your Feet to Guard the Pack When your dog is sleeping on your feet, it’s their way of bonding with their owner – who some believe they see as the leader of the rest of the pack. If a dog's fear escalates into defense, he may suddenly expose his teeth to bite the other party. For example, if your pooch gets anxious when you leave him alone, try to distract him by offering a dog interactive toy. Don't assume for even one second, however, that a frightened dog won't turn aggressive. Like fast dogs use their tails for stability on land, water dogs use it as a rudder when they are swimming. When a dog is swimming, you’ll notice their tail straight out below the surface, but then as soon as you encourage them … Obviously, they aren’t human and can’t verbally ask for affection, so this is their way of requesting it. Your dog is also telling other dogs that he meets if he is a dominant force to be reconnected with, or just a meek and mild happy, sociable chap. It’s easy to assume that your dog is spinning around in circles chasing his tail simply because he’s trying to catch the furry, wiggly thing attached to his butt. They also are learning about their bodies, and it is natural for a dog to explore their body,” says Russell Hartstein, animal behaviorist and founder of Fun Paw Care. When dogs are younger, the behavior may just be a fun game as they learn what their tail is. Tail-chasing can be caused by medical issues, such as allergies, fleas, and trauma to or diseases of the tail or spine. A humans first instinct to a skin allergy is to scratch at it, and its the same for a dog. Whether the source of your dogs allergy is mites, mold or contact with other animals, the reactions are most severe in a dogs early years, between 3 months and 6 years old. Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails? But it’s not that harmless. This example of body language usually denotes a canine who is feeling unsure of himself, and rather anxious, vulnerable, weak and submissive, and defensive. Environmental allergies anything from pollen outside to household chemicals inside can give rise to allergic reactions. Dogs keep their tails between their legs for a good reason: to make themselves look as small as possible. I have also consulted with some of my cat furriends (read: Instagram friends) to let you know why some others sit on theirs. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo. If your dog’s tail-chasing lasts for minutes on end, occurs very frequently, can’t be stopped with gentle redirection or leads to injury, or you notice other bizarre behaviors, immediately contact your veterinarian to schedule a visit. Dogs may also keep their tails between their legs due to natural tail carriage which may vary from one breed and another. Your veterinarian can help determine if behavior modification techniques will help treat your pet’s compulsion, says Hartstein, but sometimes a prescription pet medication may be required. Tail Variety in Dogs. But, it’s important to watch out for potential problems and intervene if you suspect it’s a symptom of something more serious. According to the ASPCA, a tail that is tucked under may also point to feelings of submission and vulnerability in canines. Dog tails are the last section of the dog’s spine. A dog’s tail helps them spread their scent. Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails?. Maybe you're pet-sitting for a close friend, and your pal's scared to death of her hissing Persian kitty. They also are learning about their bodies, and it is natural for a dog to explore their body,” says Russell Hartstein, … Inflammation of the skin, or dermatitis, caused by fleas and ticks is not the only allergy that can lead a dog to chew at her tail. On the other hand, submissive dogs will keep their seats down to go unnoticed. There are plenty of other ways that dogs send out messages using the position of their tails – both to humans and their fellow canines. Sometimes, a dog chasing their tail can just be a normal behavioral act. Lastly, Nordic dogs use their tails as insulation. “There appears to be a genetic cause in certain breeds of dogs, like the Bull Terrier.”. Interesti… “It is something to mention to your vet, just to run through potential medical causes and make sure your pet is not afflicted by those issues,” Dr. Liff says. Why do dogs put their tails between their legs? Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails? Occasionally, other pesky parasites may cause bouts of intense tail-biting in dogs. Tail-chasing might also be caused by boredom or lack of exercise, says Dr. Stephanie Liff, DVM and Medical Director of Pure Paws Vet Care in New York City. They may appear pushed back slightly -- a surefire sign that something just isn't right. Teller County Regional Animal Shelter: Dog Body Language. This is especially true for puppies, who may not even realize that their tail is actually a part of their body, but see it as a toy. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. 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