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Question
Posted by: Stuart Mcewen | 2011-05-24

Staffie chases tail

My 3year old neutered Staffie chases his tail when he gets excited. The problem is he gets more excited with every guest that arrives for a braai or dinner party so by the time we have 5 or 6 guests his constant spinning and barking is akin to a Tasmanian devil. I always tell people to ignore the behaviour but that does not stop him. he also tends to attack my 5 year old spayed Jack Russell in these situations. Normally they get on very well.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDog Behaviour Expert

Hi Stuart, nice to hear from you and i still have to find a Staffie or Bull terrier that does not chasing his tail! Mind you, your little one is getting a bit obsessive about the behaviour and it needs to be curtailed.
What you need to do in this situation is start with the family and as you arrive home, totally ignore the dog-do not talk to him, look at him and stand with your arms folded (hard i know!) When he calms down and gives up and starts to walk away, call him back, ask for a sit and reward with a food treat and quiet verbal praise. A dog will always respond to behaviours that work and this way he is getting your attention, getting a treat and you are acting like a proper pack parent. When he is ok with this then start to have visitors over again, but initially keep him on lead and ask the visitor to do the same, with both of you offering the treat. Build it up slowly until several people arrive at once and the dog is on lead and well behaved. After this go right back to the beginning with a visitor again, but this time off lead and just repeat the process. If you are going to have visitors over in-between, for the time being put him in another area with a nice chewy bone so that he cant repeat the behaviour and as he has this nice chew he will associate being put away as rewarding.
Additionally i find a good thing for dogs like this is to teach them to 'settle' on a regular basis. Let him play a bit and before he gets too excited, call him back, hold him stroking quietly and saying 'settle, settle, settle' and then free him to go play again. Gradually make it more and more difficult and let him get more and more excited. If you keep on practising the above (with a lot of consistency) you will soon have a well behaved dog. Good luck and do let me know how it goes. p.s. the going for the other dog is just that your boy is 'totally over the top' and the above should help, thanks Scotty

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: Kasandra | 2011-05-26

my staffie is now 7 months and loves chasing his own tail. very silly but oh so cute.

Reply to Kasandra
Posted by: Dog Behaviour Expert | 2011-05-24

Hi Stuart, nice to hear from you and i still have to find a Staffie or Bull terrier that does not chasing his tail! Mind you, your little one is getting a bit obsessive about the behaviour and it needs to be curtailed.
What you need to do in this situation is start with the family and as you arrive home, totally ignore the dog-do not talk to him, look at him and stand with your arms folded (hard i know!) When he calms down and gives up and starts to walk away, call him back, ask for a sit and reward with a food treat and quiet verbal praise. A dog will always respond to behaviours that work and this way he is getting your attention, getting a treat and you are acting like a proper pack parent. When he is ok with this then start to have visitors over again, but initially keep him on lead and ask the visitor to do the same, with both of you offering the treat. Build it up slowly until several people arrive at once and the dog is on lead and well behaved. After this go right back to the beginning with a visitor again, but this time off lead and just repeat the process. If you are going to have visitors over in-between, for the time being put him in another area with a nice chewy bone so that he cant repeat the behaviour and as he has this nice chew he will associate being put away as rewarding.
Additionally i find a good thing for dogs like this is to teach them to 'settle' on a regular basis. Let him play a bit and before he gets too excited, call him back, hold him stroking quietly and saying 'settle, settle, settle' and then free him to go play again. Gradually make it more and more difficult and let him get more and more excited. If you keep on practising the above (with a lot of consistency) you will soon have a well behaved dog. Good luck and do let me know how it goes. p.s. the going for the other dog is just that your boy is 'totally over the top' and the above should help, thanks Scotty

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