How to Train Your Dog to Stop Chasing His Tail

Medium
1-2 Months
Behavior

Introduction

So, your pup seems to be unable to stop himself from chasing his tail. It seems like every time you turn around, your pup is spinning in circles biting at his tail and simply saying "Stop it!" is having absolutely no effect. He could be chasing his tail out of boredom or simply because he is overcome with excitement. There are even a few medical conditions that can cause him to chase his tail, such as dry skin, a flea infestation, or an injury that itches as it heals.

Depending on the training method you choose, you need to catch the behavior as soon as it starts, or you may be too late for him to correct his behavior. The good news is that with a little practice, your pup can be taught that chasing his tail is not an acceptable behavior. 

Defining Tasks

The first thing you need to do is STOP laughing when you see your pup chasing his tail. What might seem silly to you is serious business to your dog, and if you keep laughing at him, you are simply reinforcing this behavior. This can actually lead to a type of obsessive-compulsive behavior that can be triggered by anxiety or stress.

Many dogs will simply grow out of this behavior, but others will need training to teach them how to stop chasing their tails. Not only can it be bad for your pup, but with all that spinning around, something is sure to get broken. Add to this that obsessive tail chasing can lead to other types of OCD behavior. With this in mind, the sooner you can start working on this training, the better it will be for your pup and the rest of your household. 

Getting Started

Before you worry about training your pup to stop chasing his tail, he needs to have mastered the basic commands. This will make it much easier for you to work on training him to leave his tail alone. The hardest part of all for most dog owners is losing the fun they had watching their up spin in crazy circles.  For this, you won't need much in the way of supplies, but you will need a few things like:

  • Treats
  • Toys
  • Time
  • Patience

Face it, training your pup to stop spinning in circles chasing his tail is not the easiest thing in the world. It will take plenty of time and patience if you want this training to succeed. 

The Vet First Method

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Step
1
To the vet
Start out by taking your pup to the vet to rule out any possible medical conditions causing him to chase his tail.
Step
2
Spend time with your pup
Spend plenty of time exercising your pup and playing with him on a daily basis. This may help to burn off of excess energy.
Step
3
Teach tricks
Work with him to teach him a new trick. This will provide a distraction that will take his mind off chasing his tail.
Step
4
Use the trick commands
Use the command for his new tricks when he starts to chase his tail. If he stops and does what he is told, reward him with a treat and plenty of praise.
Step
5
Repeat
Keep repeating this training until your pup stops chasing his tail on his own or will stop each time you give him the command to do so.
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The Distraction Method

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Step
1
Grab treats and toys
Grab a pack of your pup's favorite treats, chew toys, and regular toys.
Step
2
Choose a simple command
Choose a simple command your pup already knows how to follow, such as 'sit' or 'down'.
Step
3
Watch for signs of spinning
Watch your pup for the first signs that he is getting ready to spin and chase his tail.
Step
4
When he starts
As soon as your pup looks like he is ready to chase his tail, give him something else to do using one of the above commands.
Step
5
Keep trying
Keep repeating the above step, distracting him from thinking about chasing his tail. It may take several weeks for him to master this skill, but don't be surprised to see him do it from time to time even after he seems to have mastered the skill. This is normal, and you should be able to stop it using a single command like "Stop!"
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The Bell Method

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Step
1
The bells, the bells
For this method, you will need a small but loud bell you can attach to your pup's collar. You can buy bells like this at any department or craft store.
Step
2
Attach the bell
Attach the bell to your pup's collar. This will let you know when he starts to spin after his tail, as it will make a lot of noise.
Step
3
Even out of sight
The bell will ring and can be heard throughout your house, making it virtually impossible for your pup to get away with chasing his tail when he thinks you can't see him.
Step
4
For whom the bell tolls
Each time you hear the bell, find your pup and see if it is because he is chasing his tail. Use a chew toy or treat to distract him. In time, your pup may decide to chase the chew toy instead of his tail.
Step
5
Repeat the steps
Keep repeating this training until your pup finally gets it through his head that he no longer feels the need to chase his tail.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Success Stories

Success
onyx
Lurcher
16 Months

Well When I got him I fed him an exclusivly vegan diet so not a single animal would die just to feed him. I am vegan myself and believe everyone else should be, as well as thier animals. He is doing very well and as you can see is not starving as result of the diet. I will continue this behavior because it is whats right

2 days, 22 hours ago
Yes he stopped chasing his tail after his vegan diet
Success
Peaches
Pug
4 Years

Whenever I would come home from my construction job i would take a massive shit. Now Peaches here would chase her curly-ass tail and piss off the cat, and the cat would claw the jesus out of my recliner. Now if a man has to inturupt his shit all hell will break loose. So i started putting them in the basement during my shits; however, the cat sprayed his piss all over the walls after getting upset once again by the dog Chaising her tail. So peaches beagn to sit with me as i dropped hot cakes, as seen in the picture above. She ended up passing away after the basement flodded and she was stuck in her kennel. She drowned to deathand slowly ran out of air. THe cat survuved houwever by clinging to Peaches body.

2 days, 23 hours ago
Success
Bert
Labrador Retriever
10 Years

One day I saw a sign for a dog, who was old and fat. So i picked him up. His name was Bert. I took him home and right away I knew there would be trouble. I have another dog and also a cat that have lived together in harmony. But the day Bert came home, the cat went missing. It took a few days but he finally showed up as bones in the dogs large piles of manure. I decided enough was enough. I fed Bert until he could no longer walk, abd then layed him down in the middle of a busy highway, at night. Long story short, I no longer like fat dogs. Oh and he stopped chasing his tail.

2 days, 23 hours ago
Success
Nacho Libre
Chihuahua
12 Years

Well we had him for a good twelve years, but whenever our Alexa played Despacito he would chase his tail and knock over stuff. So we werent going to go without despacito so long story short we play despacito without interuption. We gave him to the pound.

2 days, 23 hours ago
Success
Rocky
Boston Terrier
3 Months

Well, He would't stop chasin his tail, so i took him out back to the still shed and beat him with a two by four. He still wouldnt stop so I tied him up to the hitch of the family pickup. It was a hot day in nevada and i went to go get a case of beer from the gas station. I put her in nuetral and heard a yelp from behind the truck. But i kept going because my truck makes lots of noises. it wasnt until the ride home i realized a limp body whipping around behind me being dragged on the hitch. so i pulled over and saw rocky's lifeless body. I did what any good pet owner would do, i raised a beer in his name and got another dog from the animal shelter. too bad i rolled the truck on gthe way home.

1 week, 1 day ago
This is not funny
Success
Cookie
Poodle
10 Years

He wouldn't stop so I shot him.

1 week, 4 days ago
This is sadistic
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