This example of body language usually denotes a canine who is feeling unsure of himself, and rather anxious, vulnerable, weak and submissive, and defensive. He chases a tennis ball for hours on end and barks at every squirrel that enters his backyard. Maybe you're pet-sitting for a close friend, and your pal's scared to death of her hissing Persian kitty. If you notice your dog's tail tucked below his hind legs, then the poor thing is likely very frightened about something. If your dog is feeling a little bored, he might just come up with a fun tail-chasing game to keep himself occupied. Dogs keep their tails between their legs for a good reason: to make themselves look as small as possible. In other words, when you just can’t get him to stop. However, excessive tail chasing can be a … Lastly, Nordic dogs use their tails as insulation. 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. Perhaps you just brought his carrier from the closet and he's afraid that means it's time to go to the dreaded groomer. Wagging tails, however, do not always mean friendly dogs. If your dog becomes extremely anxious during thunderstorms or fireworks, for instance, consider using a Thundershirt anxiety and calming aid for dogs. Scent marking through the air as well as on trees and bushes sends out different important messages. Teller County Regional Animal Shelter: Dog Body LanguageASPCA: Canine Body LanguageASPCA: Reading Canine Body PosturesASPCA: Canine Body Language. Tail-chasing might just be a reflection of your dog’s fun and spunky personality. 8 – All right, let’s talk about a few more examples of how a dog carries its tail. According to the ASPCA, a tail that is tucked under may also point to feelings of submission and vulnerability in canines. I have also consulted with some of my cat furriends (read: Instagram friends) to let you know why some others sit on theirs. Puppies tend to partake in this behavior more than adult dogs, as they are still learning about their bodies. A happy dog will wag their tail and an angry dog will have an erect or fluffed up tail. They may appear pushed back slightly -- a surefire sign that something just isn't right. Learning this language isn't difficult. They also thought that removing the tail would strengthen the dog’s back and increase … As long as your pup isn’t being too aggressive (like snapping at you or barking loudly), this is perfectly normal. Romans believed that cutting a dog’s tail and tongue prevented rabies. When the tail points forward between the legs it prevents the dog from releasing its scent. Dog tails are the last section of the dog’s spine. Your dog never fails to make you smile with his silly antics. 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. Dogs use their tails to communicate their mood and to spread their scent via their anal glands. This usually indicates he or she is feeling excited and particularly social. Environmental allergies anything from pollen outside to household chemicals inside can give rise to allergic reactions. Something dogs to in order to mark their territory. So Why Do Dogs Wag Their Tails? In addition to creating a holy empire, ancient Romans gave us the unholy practice of tail docking. Fleas may congregate on the tail, especially near the underside, causing sudden itchy fits. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo. He probably realizes that he's powerless, and is basically communicating -- via his tail -- that he surrenders. If both dogs are nonchalant about the behavior, it's no cause for concern. Your dog will come sit on you, perhaps bringing a toy or showing his belly, when he wants some playtime and attention. Young puppies do it to help them learn balance and get a feel for all their body parts, and for older dogs, it can simply be a convenient, fun thing to chase. 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. An obsessive dog suffering from separation anxiety may chase his tail to help calm himself while his owner is gone. “Typically, dogs with compulsive disorders have [other] signs [too], such as high anxiety and hypervigilance,” says Dr. Liff. 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. Dr. Steve Weinberg, DVM, is the founder of 911 Vets , an in-home pet medical service in California that provides on-call animal emergency services 24 hours a day. If your dog's tail is tucked under and he also slowly steps away from someone or something, this may indicate severe stress. Always exercise the utmost caution when you are in the presence of a scared dog. Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails? 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. Or, your dog may chase his tail when he feels overcome with anxiety when a stranger approaches the house or during a loud thunderstorm. Dogs Wagging Their Tails in Different Directions. 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. Occasionally, other pesky parasites may cause bouts of intense tail-biting in dogs. They also are learning about their bodies, and it is natural for a dog to explore their body,” says Russell Hartstein, … He may be feeling kind of uneasy and uncertain about things, and doesn't like it one bit. Why do dogs chase their tail? If your dog’s anxiety or compulsive behavior can’t be managed through puzzle toys or calming aids alone, Hartstein says your veterinarian might recommend a dog anxiety medication. Most of the time, dogs chase their tails as a form of play. As your dog’s primary caretaker, carefully observe your dog’s behaviors and try to pinpoint the root cause or trigger of your dog’s tail-chasing. This is because the tail helps dogs to balance herself by putting its weight in the opposite direction. If you notice bristling hair down its back or down the dog’s tail this often suggests a sign of aggression. In general, puppies are also more prone to playing and can turn practically anything into a dog chew toy, which sometimes includes their tail. It's somewhat similar to when us humans curl up into the fetal position when feeling sad or sick. Even among dogs, no two tails are the same. If you feel like this might be the reason behind your dog’s sudden interest in his tail, make sure he’s getting all the activity and attention he needs. “It’s fun! 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. According to the ASPCA, a tail that is tucked under may also point to feelings of submission and vulnerability in canines. Even while running, walking and sitting. The best type of toys for this are dog puzzle toys, like a KONG classic dog toy stuffed with something extra-delicious. Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails? Perhaps you just threw a big weekend shindig and dozens of people he doesn't know are taking up space in his usually comfortable and private home -- a scary thought for any dog, indeed. They direct their tail to help steer . Why Do Dogs Have Tails In The First Place? Watch your dog along a narrow surface you will see the tail will be hard. If you're packing your overnight bag and she associates that with being boarded at a kennel, she might tuck her tail and move away from you as you pack. 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. That’s because the tail DOES have pain receptors, but they do not react the same when relaxed as when excited. Do dogs feel pain in their tail? 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. 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. Look at his ears for another clue that he's feeling this way. This may help you and your veterinarian come up with some management techniques. Discover what it means when your dog has a wagging tail. “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. About the Author Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. “It’s fun! When a dog puts its tail between its lets it is a sign of submission. Dogs chase their tail to burn off energy. “There appears to be a genetic cause in certain breeds of dogs, like the Bull Terrier.”. According to Canine Journal, dogs also use their tails to spread their scent, which is a way to communicate. Why do dogs put their tails between their legs? This goes back to more primal days, when dogs had to rely on the leader – that’s, again, you – to keep them safe from predators. Tails do serve to help maintain dogs’ balance, but communication is their primary purpose. Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Samoyeds, and other Arctic dogs curl their furry tails all the way to the front of their noses to keep their nostrils from drying up and to protect their faces from the bitter cold. There are plenty of other ways that dogs send out messages using the position of their tails – both to humans and their fellow canines. The different movements and positions of a dog’s tail can tell you a lot about how the animal is feeling or what they are trying to communicate. For example, if your pooch gets anxious when you leave him alone, try to distract him by offering a dog interactive toy. Lap dog breeds include the Maltese, Shih Tzu, Bichon Frise and the Pug, but there are many. 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