Advice: Tail Chasing Obsession - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 08-02-2010, 04:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Advice: Tail Chasing Obsession

I currently have a 6 month old GSD. He has developed over the last few months this obsession with chasing his tail. He fixates on it and won't stop until I physically grab him and sit him down or I get up to let him outside. I first credited it to his puppy hood then I noticed that it is a non stop thing. He stayed with my friends while I was on vacation and they told me how he would fixate on it and other things as well and all commands (of which he knows very well) would go out the window. Apparently he got so obsessed with chasing his tail that he ran into the couch scooting it a good few inches.. while someone was sitting on it. I brought the problem up at the vets and she did some research on it. She is suggesting putting him on a medication that helps with compulsive behaviors and anxiety in dogs. She also wants to do X-Rays and a neuro scan to rule out any medical issues.

I was just curious if this seems like a good idea or is it simply just something that GSDs do as a puppy and he will grow out of it. Any advice or comments would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!! Have a fabulous day!
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Old 08-02-2010, 04:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Tail chasing can become compulsive and can be problematic. There are tail chasers that will destroy their tails when they catch them. Often tail chasing is behavioral and an outlet for excess energy or anxiety. I think with a puppy where the habit isn't too ingrained I would try and solve it with training first before jumping into medication. You also need to watch and see what the triggers for the behavior are. Boredom? Stress? Then you work at addressing how your dog deals with the trigger and shaping a better behavior response.

Anka was a tail chaser. With her we used interupption and redirection. She would do it when she was excited and no place to put the energy. We would stop her and then engage her with a toy. This gave her a more appropriate place to put her energy. With time she stopped chasing her tail and would go pick up a toy on her own. And now that she's mature the problem hardly surfaces.
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Old 08-02-2010, 04:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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They eventually grow out of it. Chiefy did that all his life but he only did it occasionally after age 2.
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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i'd say try everything before you put him on a medication for it. sorry no really advise to offer though
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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A link to a link with links...
Still chasing his tail at 1.5yrs!
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Old 08-04-2010, 05:37 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you for the advice, I really appreciate it!
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