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Tail Chasing?

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Okay not a border collie but a general dog question.


Yesterday Mia started chasing her tail what I would consider somewhat obsessively. She did it for a little over an hour off and on. She has never done this before. I tried to redirect her by playing fetch but she'd stop and notice her tail and start going in circles again.


It goes like this... she'll get excited and wagging her tail really fast then she'll see it out of the corner of her eye. She'll turn her head slightly and crouch and then pounce at it then eventually start going in circles really fast, growling as she does so. Then she'd stop and look for it again. She'd not see it (it curls over her back most the time) and she'd start wagging her tail then she'd see it again and tense up and go after it again.


I've heard various things about tail chasing. I've never had a dog that does it before. How would you deal with it? She hasn't chased her tail any at all since yesterday evening. She has very high prey and toy drive especially for her breed and size. The first day home from her breeder she was already killing small animals. Anything that moves, she wants to chase which I've been trying to channel and get some control on with appropriate outlets like playing fetch and with a flirt pole daily. I really think this is likely a different manifestation of the same thing.


Advice? I don't even know if I should be concerned at all. Some people say its a sign of obsessiveness (which I don't need in another dog, I already have one prescribed prozac). Others say it's harmless.

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Meg chases her tail and it seems connected to wanting yet more attention. Recently instead of telling her stop I utterly ignored it and honestly out of the corner of my eye I saw her looking at me for a reaction. Continuing to ignore her she just stopped.I am sure those with more experience will reply but that is my story!!

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Tail chasing is sometimes attributed to stress. Julies site is a good starter buT I would becareful that it doesn't become OCD. Try distracting her or sitting down for a massage.

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All my puppies have chased their tails at times, though not to the extent you are describing. Has she done it since that hour long on and off chasing? I guess I wouldn't be too concerned at this point but would probably do the same as you distracting her from the activity. That was what I did with Quinn when he would look at shadows/dancing lights as a youngster. He wasn't doing a lot of it, but I didn't want him to develop a habit. If the tail chasing continues at the level you describe (as opposed to a minute or two every so often) or gets worse, then maybe start with talking to the breeder for any insights she may have. You could also try briefly crating her or holding her on your lap if the chasing won't stop despite distraction.


Interesting situation. Please keep us updated on how it goes.

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Thanks for all the suggestions and the reading too. I'd read another site that was similar to that one. I'm still not sure the cause of the sudden tail chasing but the other site said it most times starts appearing at 4-5 months which is how old she is. (5 months)


I'm wondering if part of it was frustration/lack of exercise. She's a very active dog and still really hasn't learned to 'settle'. Due to some unavoidable circumstances we missed our hour long walk for two days in a row, which has never happened before. I was gone on Tuesday a lot longer than usual because my cousin called me for help. Then yesterday we had a lightning storm. I'm wondering if being cooped up inside is the problem. Since we've gotten back on schedule she hasn't had any tail chasing episodes at all.


I have another dog that came to me a year ago at 4 years old and was a very obsessive licker. I've worked with her a lot and gotten the licking down (though she still will go overboard sometimes). So I know a bit about obsessive behaviors and redirecting them.


Leave it is a work in progress.

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