How to Stop a Dog from Chasing Its Tail

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If you find it concerning or annoying that your dog is chasing its tail, then you’re probably here to know how to stop a dog from chasing its tail. This behavior is entirely normal for dogs, although some extreme cases may be harmful.

How to Stop a Dog From Chasing Its Tail

You can employ various methods to stop a dog from chasing its tail. The most popular one is spending time with your dog. Here is a step-by-step process that you can follow to stop your dog from chasing its tail:

  1. First, you should consult with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical condition that might cause your dog to chase its tail.
  2. Your dog might have excess energy. That’s why it developed a habit of chasing its tail. Find a way for your dog to release its extra energy. One thing you can do is play with your dog regularly. 
  3. Stimulate your dog’s brain. You can do this by introducing distractions like treats and toys. Another way to do it is by teaching your dog some tricks. 
  4. You can also teach your dog some tricks to stop it from chasing its own tail. Whenever your dog starts to chase its tail, do your command for the trick and reward your dog with some treats and praise. This helps condition your dog’s mind not to chase its tail. 
  5. Repeat said methods to incorporate them into your dog. 
A Bull terrier wearing a blue scarf is running on the green grass near the tall trees

Ways to Stop Your Terrier’s Tail Chasing Habits

Technique 1Consult a vet to rule out underlying conditions
Technique 2Play to release pent-up energy
Technique 3Provide treats and toys
Technique 4Teach tricks and commands
Technique 5Don’t tolerate the behavior
Technique 6Have daily walks
Technique 7Interact with other dogs

What You Need for Training

To train your dog to stop it from chasing its tail, you might need some items to do such training. These items will make it easier for you to train your dog:

  • Treats
  • Toys
  • Leash
  • Routine schedule to follow
  • Other distractions like a playpen

You don’t have to get all of them. However, the two most essential would be the treats (to reward your dog) and toys (act as a distraction). You will also need to spend time and effort training your dog.

Reasons Your Dog Is Chasing Its Tail

The most common reasons your dog is chasing its tail are:

  • Your dog is looking to have some fun – Dogs are playful animals. So they’ll do anything to entertain themselves. This includes chasing their tail just to keep themselves busy.
  • Lack of stimulation – Dogs require physical activity to stimulate their mental health. If they don’t have anything to play with, they could play with their tail to keep themselves busy.
  • Underlying medical condition – Your dog chasing its tail may be a symptom of a medical condition. If other symptoms may be alarming for you, don’t hesitate to go to the veterinarian and have your dog checked.

In most cases, giving your dog other things to get distracted would stop it from chasing its tail. If you have a well-trained dog, a simple command like sit or stop should keep it from trying to get its tail.

However, it’s not as easy if the reason is an underlying medical condition. Be especially alarmed if they start biting their tail.

Possible Underlying Medical Conditions

If you’re curious about what medical conditions could cause your dog to chase and even chew its tail, here are some possible reasons:

  • Pain – your dog may likely have a tail that’s hurting. Dogs tend to chew on painful areas to provide relief. 
  • Allergic reaction – an allergic reaction often causes itching. This itching could be on the tail. This prompts your dog to chase and chew on it to relieve the itching.
  • Fleas – Not much to say except that fleas are small bugs that cause itching and discomfort to your dog. Check the tail for fleas and use a good shampoo to keep fleas off your dog.
  • Anxiety – sometimes, dogs exhibit the behavior of chasing or chewing their tails when under stress.
A Bull terrier wearing a red collar is standing on the green grass near the tall trees

Tips for Stopping a Dog From Chasing Its Tail

Below are some additional tips that might help you as you try to stop your dog’s tail-chasing behavior:

  • Don’t reinforce the behavior (chasing the tail) by giving it attention, whether it be a positive or negative reaction. Ignore the behavior, so your dog won’t use it to get your attention.
  • Find a way to increase your dog’s activity levels (more on this below)
  • Provide toys that your dog can play with to ease its boredom
  • Observe your dog’s skin, tail, and overall well-being. If you find something off or out of the ordinary, have your dog checked by a veterinarian.

Activities You Can Do to Satisfy Your Dog’s Activity Level

  • Daily walks – you can schedule your daily walks according to what best fit your schedule
  • Heavy exercises – examples of these are running, swimming, and hiking
  • Plays – examples of these would be fetch, catch the ball, tug of war, and many others
  • Socializing – you can take your dog to a dog park and let it interact with other dogs (make sure your dog likes to socialize)
  • Agility sports – enroll or train your dog in agility sports. This could be a great bonding time you can spend with your dog.

Alternative Way to Stop a Dog From Chasing Its Tail

A bell is an essential piece of this method. However, it does have some drawbacks, too since it makes a lot of noise.

First, you attach the bell to your dog’s collar. The bell will tell you if your dog is moving a lot since it will make some noise. The bell also helps locate where your dog is. You can then go to your dog and give it something it can be distracted with, like a toy or treat.

This training can backfire as the bell might make the dog think that producing a sound gets a treat or a toy. The best scenario would be your dog understanding that it gets a treat or toy by not chasing its tail.

A black white colored Bull terrier is wearing a colorful scarf while lying on the green grass

Related Questions

Should I Let My Dog Chase Its Tail?

You can just let your dog chase its tail if there is no harm. You should only be concerned when the behavior is causing self-harm or the dog hits furniture in the house.

Is My Terrier Chasing Its Tail Due to Boredom?

Your Terrier may be chasing its tail due to boredom. You must have ways to provide mental stimulation or exercises so your pet will find other things to pay attention to.

What Dog Breeds Like to Chase Their Tails?

Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Anatolian Sheepdogs, and German Shepherds are breeds that are likely to chase their tails. Jack Russell Terriers and West Highland White Terriers also often display this behavior.


Teaching a dog to stop chasing its tail needs some time and patience. If you follow the steps I provided, your dog might stop chasing its tail ultimately. If there is no harm in this behavior, it’s best just to leave your dog to have fun.