There are quite a few reasons why a dog might appear to chase and want to catch and bite his tail. One could be boredom, especially for dogs in small kennels with nothing else to do. Another could be because he gets a positive reinforcement from humans – laughter. Fleas and ticks can usually attack a dog’s tail and he will be unable to scratch to try and remove them. Also, “hot spots” caused by allergies to food, or other elements such as the grass at certain times of the year are frequently found on tails. Or the tail might have a cut that the dog will try to lick. Several dogs with tails get their tails broken as puppies or as adults.
Dog owners in other parts of the world who could dock tails may never have experienced watching a dog trying to catch a tail but with the new legislation preventing them from docking, tails are there to stay, to move and maybe be caught 🙂
Dog tails can give clues as to the dog’s intention which may be harder to read when the dog has a docked tail. For example, a dog showing pleasure in greeting a person may wag its tail and its whole butt and it is usually easy to read that the dog is approachable.
Shy or fearful dogs may even have their tails tucked between their legs.
A dog which stands in a tense position, staring or “eye balling” with a tail held high which moves slowly back and forth is probably not inviting play or friendship. So be careful as a tail wag is not always a sign of friendship.
With breed standards changing, even in Barbados, breeds like the Rottweiler which used to have its tail docked, there should be a lot more tails around for dogs to catch 🙂