I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love.

For me they are the role model for being alive.

~ Gilda Radner

Monday, December 7, 2009


When Stumpy is bored, or doesn't get enough exercise she resorts to chasing her tail.

The animal behaviorists at Tufts/Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine say a "...dog may possess the requisite genes for tail chasing..." and "...Behavior is a complex interaction of genetics and environmental input..."

Episodes can be induced with frustration, stress, trauma or seemingly no reason at all. It can be uncontrollable and destructive. Without knowing, some people reward the behavior by providing positive reinforcement (i.e. laughter, petting to calm) exacerbating the activity.

Some breeds are more inclined to chase their tails; German Shepherds and Bull Terriers, for example.

Some animal behaviorists consider it an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Those of us with herding type breeds are well aware of the powerful focusing ability of our canine partners. Sometimes I think Stumpy could move food off the counter or a toy across the room with her stare. I KNOW she can force me to play or take her out with her unwavering gaze. Is Stumpy OCD? Sure she is, but not in a bad way. She is easily distracted, when it's necessary.

I don't consider Stumpy's tail chasing destructive, in any way. It doesn't happen frequently, not even weekly. She is easily distracted from it and it seems to provide a release for pent up energy. It makes me laugh! She's a goofball anyways, but add some tail-chasing to her repertoire of silliness and I've got my own one-dog comedy show.


Sam said...

Though I'm far from a fan of Cesar Milan, I do remember watching an episode where a GSD obsessively chased his tail to the point of injuring his tail and hurting his joints. Now THAT is OCD!

Stumpy just sounds like she's havin' some fun. I giggle when Marge does it, too. :)

An English Shepherd said...

Yes it looks like she is just having fun to me as well.

Now where is my tail... ;-)


Gus, Louie and Callie said...

Mom is so glad to hear that it isn't a bad thing. It is almost as if Louie was reading this post. He started chasing his tail. He usually does it when he wants Callie and I to play with him.. Mom calls it feeling his oats.. Whatever that old farm girl means..

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

Stella said...

OCD but not in a bad way . . .now thats something to think about. I got a big floofy tail but I don't chase it. Maybe if Stumpy had a little more floof on his tail, it wouldn't twitch around so much and aggravate him. Lets find him a hair restorer or something.


Unknown said...

I think you are just dancing. Hey my mom calls me goofball. That's my nickname. We have so much in common. Save a dance for me

Southbaygirl said...

tail chasing....I don't do that....is that OCD and ACD thing???



NAK and The Residents of The Khottage Now With KhattleDog! said...

Dance with me!

I want to be your partner!



Dog_geek said...

Ah, those herding breeds. Z has a few little OCD-ish behaviors, but like Stumpy, it's generally not too hard to snap him out of it, and it hasn't progressed much over the years. And of course, he's like a crack addict about playing fetch, which he just isn't physically sound enough to do any more, but that doesn't stop him from constantly trying to get one of us to throw something for him.

DogsDeserveFreedom said...

I've also seen fly catching which is defined as an OCD (even though it is easily redirectable).

Anyway, wanted to let you know that I changed the link for your blog on my blogroll so it is called Stumpy's Daily Dose 'o' Dirtville instead of Ummm (which was the old name).

Cyndi and Stumpy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cyndi and Stumpy said...

Sam, I have seen the damage tail chasing can do. Fortunately Stumpy is not in that category!

Wizz, found your tail yet?

Gus, Louie is dancing! Norwood and Khyra agree!!!

Stella, those floofy tais are gorgeous and are pretty good at dusting, too!

Norwood, I thought that , too, that the foot work looked like a very complicated set of dance moves. Stumpy is saving all kinds of moves for you!

Velcro, the "experts" don't mention ACD's as one of the breeds predisposed to this behavior.

Khyra, Stumpy has you on her dance card!

DG, they wouldn't be the dogs we love if they weren't at least a little OCD. I have always loved the more complicated breeds.

DDF, UT OH!!! Stumpy's a fly catcher, too... and I a bee catch which hasn't turned out well many times, but she can't discern between a fly and a bee, or won't.
Thanks for updating our blog!