I don’t mean to call you out, but I couldn’t help but overhear your comment at the dog park when you saw me chasing my own tail. I realize you didn’t intend for me to hear or to hurt my feelings, but I guess that’s exactly my point in penning this. You seem to think that canine tail-chasing is a mark of inferior intellect. I’m here to set the record straight. As my friend Oprah says, when you know better, you do better. You see, dogs chase their tails for a variety of reasons. For example:
My friend Rosco chases his tail when he is bored and cooped up. He can only sit inside his apartment watching his human watching the news for so long. His tail chasing is the gentle cyclone needed to shake up the apartment’s atmosphere and inspire a trip outside for some fresh air. It works.
My pal Persimmon, a terrier, chases her tail because that’s what her mother and her grandmother did before her. Some breeds like terriers, German Shepherds and Dobermans are more prone to tail chasing. You might say that rather than chasing their own tails, they are chasing the echo of their genetic heritage.
When it comes to my neighbor Dakota, he’s not a regular tail-chaser at all. That’s why his human took particular notice when Dakota started obsessively chasing his tail last October. It turns out, he had a case of fleas and was trying to relieve the itch. The tail-chasing helped alert him to the problem. (In Dakota’s defense, he would have emailed his human regarding the fleas, but his iPad was taken away after some excessive squeaky-toy orders from Amazon.)
My half-cousin Nacho, on the other hand, chases his tail whenever he feels stressed out. As soon as suitcases come out of the closet, he freaks out. He doesn’t know what to do with all that pent up anxiety, so he chases his tail until the dizziness makes him temporarily forget his despair. It’s not perfect, but that's how he copes.
But none of those reasons are why I was chasing my tail last Tuesday in the dog park when you made your remark. I chase my tail for an entirely different reason: because I am an entertainer. My human thinks it is hilarious when I chase my tail. The more I spin, the more she laughs. And her laugh is more magical than releasing a thousand doves covered in glitter. Plus, she usually gives me an extra treat.
So, you see? You can’t judge a book by it’s cover, and you can’t judge a dog’s IQ by his tail chasing.