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Tail chasing Staffie - advice??

Discussion in 'Staffordshire Bull Terrier' started by sweetdee253, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. sweetdee253

    sweetdee253 Puppy

    We got Rudy at around 11 months. He was a high-strung tail chaser when we got him and we thought it was just him being nervous around new owners and puppy behaviors he would outgrow. Boy, were we wrong. He is a wonderful boy. Easy to train, eager to please, obedient, etc. But we still can't seem to get over this hump with him and now his tail chasing is getting worse. He has caught it on occasion and is destroying the end of his tail - once he catches it, the obsession becomes worse because now it hurts and bothers him. He does it not because he is bored, but because he is nervous (when we tell him "no") or overstimulated (during and after play). We have tried walks, distraction, discipline, positive reinforcement, you name it. We even tried wrapping his tail, but that usually comes right off after a few minutes. Nothing has helped and we can't monitor him 24/7. On top of this, I don't think he had much exposure to people love as a pup - he wants to be touched and loved on, but it excites him rather than relax him, so imagine how difficult it is to wrap that darn tail, etc. Makes me sad for the poor little guy and we want to do what we can to help him. We don't want to put him on anti-anxiety meds if we don't have to, but we're starting to think this is beyond us. Anyone been through anything similar or have any suggestions?
  2. LilianaLove

    LilianaLove GRCH Dog

    Exercise. Lots of it. You have a working breed, it needs a job- physical AND mental stimulation. Hours of exercise- not just walks. Running, pulling, structured work utilizing body and mind.
  3. ignitethis

    ignitethis Good Dog

    Exercise and lots of mental stimulation. Food puzzles are great. Back when I first got my girl Roxie, she would chase her tail and end up splattering the walls with blood when she'd wag it. I would take and walk her for a few hours- from one end of town to the other (yeah, I live in a small town), then we would do some training. I also gave her natural calming treats and stuffed/frozen Kongs when I had to go to work.

    As she got older (around 2 years), I started running her with my bike (check out the WalkyDog) and shortening walks. During walks, she would carry a 1lb weight on each side of a doggy backpack or she would pull in a harness (I like the Stillwater ring harness). I also let her run in the park behind my house- on a 50ft long line, of course. Indoors, she LOVES playing tug and during winter I will run her up and down the stairs, only going for short walks and I run her in the park on weekends. A lot more training and food puzzle feeding goes on in winter, though. Luckily, Roxie picks things up pretty fast... minus turning lights on and off. She just doesn't get that one, lol.

    It might seem like a bit much to the average dog owner, but it keeps us both fit and happy. Good and tired, too. If you're able to, getting your dog into sports like agility, flyball, or weight pull are always fun. Best of luck!!
  4. tosetti

    tosetti Puppy

    tail chasing is an ocd in dogs. Would try lots of exercise and mental stimulation
  5. fram773

    fram773 Puppy

    I have a Staffy too she loves everyone but is hard to train, eager to please herself, and disobedient. To answer your question. Have you tried applying bitter apple or apple cider vinegar to his tail? Personally I'd rather have my dog's tail docked than have her doped up the rest of her life. The side effects, think Prozac for humans, can be worse than what they treat. You can try going to a professional trainer who can judge your dog individually.
  6. sweetdee253

    sweetdee253 Puppy

    Thanks for all of the suggestions, everyone! Glad to know we are not alone on this. I think we are going to try weight pulls and maybe some other things since it's getting cold out here. We've been walking him more. Took him to the vet and got him some painkillers and antibiotics for his tail. Also got a blow up ring for his neck since cones that fit him are just too dang big and drag on the ground, which only freaks him out even more. Seems to be helping, but he hates it. We are working to stimulate rather than medicate. I'm hoping we don't have to resort to docking it. Fingers crossed we can break him of this...or at least lessen the frequency. We have out work cut out for us!
  7. sweetdee253

    sweetdee253 Puppy

    We did try bitter apple, etc. Since his tail is already damaged at the moment, they only hurt the wound. And he licks it off or panicks and starts spinning from the pain. Your little girl sounds totally opposite from Rudy. He is very eager to please and great with training. And oh so skittish. We looked into a trainer in our area and the cost was soooo steep. Think we are going to try different exercises, first. And then maybe docking...but as a last resort.
  8. sweetdee253

    sweetdee253 Puppy

    Thought I would put an update on here. We got Rudy a backpack for walks (super cute, by the way, will add a picture) and he loves it! Yay! But he's still chasing. It's been pretty cold here, so we've been keeping the door to outside closed, which means we are able to keep a better eye on him he hasn't gotten his tail since. He still licks it like crazy, but it is healing. Finally! Guess we just need to monitor out little guy more. Not always easy, but we'll do what we can!
  9. fram773

    fram773 Puppy

    Good to hear.

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