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Old 02.01.2013, 12:21
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Ebby bit her tail!

Dog owner, - lovers and -specialists, maybe you can help me with this issue: Yesterday I saw Ebby chasing her tail and today we saw the tip of her tail was injured and bleeding a little, so she must have bit herself. What can we do to keep her from doing it? I have never had a dog before who did that. Advice much appreciated.
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Old 02.01.2013, 12:39
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Re: Ebby bit her tail!

I'm neither a dog owner nor a specialist, but maybe she won't do it again now she knows that it hurts?
Hope she soon recovers .
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Old 02.01.2013, 13:33
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Re: Ebby bit her tail!

McD, do you think this was a one-off, play-gone-a-bit-too-far thing, or do you think this might be a repetitive behavior?

If one-off play, not too much to worry about - hopefully the tail will heal soon. I usually clip the hair around the tail, clean the wound and then lightly bandage it, as waggy tails are easily re-injured... but you'll probably want to speak to the vet before doing anything, just to be on the safe side. If the bite is deep or not healing, definitely see the vet.

---

If, however, you think that this might be the start of a repetitive behavior you are right to take steps now.

First thing to rule out is a physical/medical cause of tail-chasing behavior - allergy, pain, etc. Dogs will sometime chase and bite tails in an effort to stop pain, even pain elsewhere in the body. Is Ebby otherwise in good health? Has she recently injured herself in any way? IF you suspect a physical cause - see the vet.

But if you think it is behavior driven:

Because most of my mutts have a few screws loose, I tend to treat any tail chasing as potential compulsive behavior and distract/redirect immediately. I don't want to take the chance of the behavior becoming a habit.

So... at the first sign of tail 'interest' before it becomes a chase situation, I distract my dog by asking him to do something else. I ask him to either pick up a toy and bring it to me, do a command sequence, perform a trick, maybe offer him a toy or kong, etc. Anything interesting and rewarding - but not so hard to do that it would raise frustration levels - to distract him from the tail-chase urge.

Often simply increasing interaction with the humans is enough to break the cycle. If you are clicker training Ebby, this is a good opportunity. The click marks the break in behavior, reward for compliance.

I also try to figure out what triggers a compulsive behavior. I try to make note of what was going on with my dog and in my house prior to the behavior - was my dog upset, nervous? Was there some kind of trigger that set the behavior off? Was he bored?

Boredom is most easily fixed - keep the dog involved with you as you go about the day.

Emotion-driven tail chasing usually means that there is a trigger; once you have identified what that is, counter conditioning is called for. But while you are working on counterconditioning try to avoid the trigger in the short term if possible, as every time the dog 'practices' a potentially compulsive behavior a step towards true compulsion is made. If not possible to avoid the trigger, be ready to distract.

Here is a good article on compulsive behavior:
http://www.aspca.org/Pet-care/virtua...havior-in-dogs

Psychocollie was a spinner, driven by his many demons. Hooligan started to tail chase during the time she was on 'house arrest' during her first heat. Hooligan's was a classic case of boredom compulsive behavior, solved with increased interaction and brain-training games until she could go out and exercise again.

Anyway - hope this is all over-the-top, and that this was simply a puppy game gone wrong. But do keep an eye out, and be ready to step in if the behavior continues.

Sending big hugs to little Ebby.
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Old 02.01.2013, 13:42
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Re: Ebby bit her tail!

The voice of reason as usual :-) Thanks for the link. I noticed for the first time yesterday, she was with me in the kitchen where she loves to be and I was cleaning, she searched in the box for goodies to help herself (Which is of course not allowed) and the suddenly I saw her going in circles and chasing her tail. I didn't think much of it, but today she had to stay at home alone for two hours and when we returned my daughter suddenly notice a small wound at the tip of her tail. So we assumed she must have been successful in tail chasing OR she wagged it against a piece of furniture when we came, she wags quite a lot and rather forcefully.
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Old 03.01.2013, 18:21
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Re: Ebby bit her tail!

How is the lovely Miss Ebby doing today?

Hope her tail is healing...
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Old 03.01.2013, 18:41
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Re: Ebby bit her tail!

Thank goodness tail docking is banned here in Switzerland and Ebby has a tail to chase!
The other day we saw a boxer dog and it took a couple of seconds to work out why it looked 'different'. It had a tail! I have only ever seen boxers in the UK without their tails, and they look so much better with them.
Look after your lovely tail Ebby!

http://910pets.ning.com/page/ear-cropping-tail-docking
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Old 03.01.2013, 18:45
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Re: Ebby bit her tail!

Bored maybe - try buying some new doggie toys? Things to bite & chase.
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Old 03.01.2013, 19:03
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Re: Ebby bit her tail!

Dog logic:-

Wassat wagging behind me. I'll take a look. Bugger it goes away. Ok I see it again. Ok I'm gonna be faster this time. Ok wait, wait, wait, and.... GO.

Shit, this thing is fast. Faster, faster, faster, nearly got it, bit faster, and.... Ow, ow, ow. This doesn't feel good.

I know, I'll try the other way round, I'll get that bastard yet.

Repeat and re-rinse.

Dogs - intelligent certainly, but only enough to endanger themselves
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Old 03.01.2013, 19:12
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Re: Ebby bit her tail!

Did you attach to poor doggy's tail a piece of wurst
Get her something safe fixed to the tail next time. Something like an artificial tail extension.

Last edited by jacek; 03.01.2013 at 19:23.
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Old 03.01.2013, 19:21
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Re: Ebby bit her tail!

One thing to check is if she has worms? Tail chasing can be caused if your dog has not been wormed..
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Old 03.01.2013, 20:06
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Re: Ebby bit her tail!

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How is the lovely Miss Ebby doing today?

Hope her tail is healing...
Yes it's healing, it was only a tiny little bit and I hanen't seen her do it again, so I go for the "was so excited wagged my tail like a whip and hit the furniture" option.

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Thank goodness tail docking is banned here in Switzerland and Ebby has a tail to chase!
The other day we saw a boxer dog and it took a couple of seconds to work out why it looked 'different'. It had a tail! I have only ever seen boxers in the UK without their tails, and they look so much better with them.
Look after your lovely tail Ebby!

http://910pets.ning.com/page/ear-cropping-tail-docking
As far as I know Danes never had docked tails, only cropped ears.

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One thing to check is if she has worms? Tail chasing can be caused if your dog has not been wormed..
No worms. And I think if they have worms they chew on the root of the tail rather than the tip.
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Old 03.01.2013, 20:08
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Re: Ebby bit her tail!

I had that same problem but, thankfully, the valium helps.
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Old 03.01.2013, 20:10
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Re: Ebby bit her tail!

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I had that same problem but, thankfully, the valium helps.
So you chased your tail? Did you ever catch it?
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Old 03.01.2013, 20:11
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Re: Ebby bit her tail!

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So you chased your tail? Did you ever catch it?
No, I just decided to chase someone else's instead.
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Old 03.01.2013, 20:14
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Re: Ebby bit her tail!

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I had that same problem but, thankfully, the valium helps.
Tried same stuff after too much champagne on New Years Eve party but luckily got my present on Xmas to prevent me from doing so...

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Old 03.01.2013, 20:19
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Re: Ebby bit her tail!

Friend of mine's dog was chasing it's tail. She found a small wound on the tip of the tail, discovered it was an allergic reaction to something and itched. Treated it and that was the end of that.
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Old 04.01.2013, 11:51
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Re: Ebby bit her tail!

Ebby's tail has healed completely so whatever it was I hope it was a one time only.
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Old 04.01.2013, 12:03
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Re: Ebby bit her tail!

All is well that ends well.
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Old 04.01.2013, 12:07
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Re: Ebby bit her tail!

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All is well that ends well.
And I'm glad that Ebby's end is well .
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Old 04.01.2013, 12:08
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Re: Ebby bit her tail!

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And I'm glad that Ebby's end is well .
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