Why Do Shiba Inus Chase Their Tail? (8 Reasons)

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Shiba Inus chase their tail for several reasons, including curiosity, anxiety, predatory instinct, infestation by fleas, food allergies, or due to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Some dogs tend to suffer from OCD, which manifests in tail chasing.

The odds that you may have seen your Shiba Inu chase their tail as they try to bite it are very high. So, like any other caring owner, you wonder what’s wrong with your canine friend.

Although tail-chasing behavior might seem all fun for your dog, excess of it becomes dangerous, especially when your pooch friend does it nonstop.

This Shiba Inu tail-chasing guide explores the key reasons they do so and the means to counter the behavior.

Why Do Shiba Inus Chase Their Tail?

  • Lack of Enough Play and Activity
  • Predatory Instinct
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Age-Related Issue
  • Parasites
  • Food Allergies
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Seeking for Attention
  • Boredom

What’s more;

Lack of Enough Play and Activity

Being an active breed, Shiba Inus need physical activity regularly, if not daily. Failure to which they can give tantrums or show other undesirable behaviors like tail chasing.

Why Do Shiba Inus Chase Their Tail

Tail chasing in Shiba Inu can act as a form of exercise with some entertainment. That said, ensure you exercise your canine friend more frequently.

They do this to release excess pent-up energy accumulated in their bodies. Your Shiba Inu needs to engage in aerobic exercises to avoid such stunts.

A walk can help reduce tail-chasing behavior. Additional exercises like fetch can also help reduce this behavior, as dogs would rather chase a ball than their tail.

Predatory Instinct

Shiba Inus naturally have a predatory instinct in them. So, they tend to prey on everything that seems to be moving.

Weirdly, Shiba Inus can even chase their shadow. They aren’t just okay with anything moving nearby without drawing their attention.

Therefore, this encourages tail chasing in many ways as Shibas begin to prey on their tail from a young age.

Failure to address it can be harmful and can cause injuries. Ensure you watch your Shiba Inu, especially during the early years when tail chasing is more prominent.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety usually happens with dogs that are overly attached to their owners or family members.

So, when the time comes for them to separate and belong to new owners, they’re affected by separation anxiety.

Therefore, this can also cause tail-chasing behavior in Shiba Inus. Separation causes boredom to a Shiba, thus prompting them to seek an activity to keep them busy.

This may trigger the tail-chasing behavior, which they may perceive as entertaining to you. This happens when you are happy and enjoy as they do it.

If this is the case, you should redirect your canine friend to a helpful activity or initiate a playing session.

Age-Related Issue

Tail-chasing behavior could be age-related as it’s more common to younger and older Shibas. It’s not common in Shibas of the middle age.

Young pups are fond of chewing their tails as they explore their bodies and grow. They can easily carry forward this behavior if not checked.

On the other hand, youthful tail chasing is usually a passing phase. This doesn’t require intervention as it’s not usually serious.

Older adult Shibas tend to chew their tails because of decreased awareness. This comes when the mental acuity starts to diminish as they age.

So, your canine friend restarts some youthful behaviors, such as tail chewing. At adult age, this behavior can also indicate a cognitive disorder.


Some internal parasites can quickly infest your Shibas tail areas. Therefore, this might be the reason you often see your canine friend chase his tail while trying to bite it.

The behavior results from itchiness which your Shiba can’t withstand. So, biting themselves in an attempt to scratch the itchiness, they may be feeling.

Therefore, you may want to assess your Shibas tail carefully. Thankfully, this is hardly the reason if you’re good at maintaining high hygiene standards.

Fleas often attack the tail’s rear end, which is hard for your Shiba to reach. Therefore, this causes tail-chasing behavior.

Food Allergies

Food allergies can also be a reason why your canine friend is behaving weirdly, chasing their tail. Some allergens may affect or cause discomfort in the anal glands of your canine friend, causing strange behavior.

If the tail-chasing behavior happens after they feed on a given meal, make changes. You can alternate the food with another type to assess any changes.

If the behavior stops suddenly after adjusting the food type and ingredients, you’re sure the previous food contains an allergen.

This technique is usually known as trial and error. You try different food types to identify the one affecting your canine friend. That way, you can easily eliminate foods with allergens.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

This behavior is typical in Shiba Inus. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) affects young Shiba Inus as they continue to explore their body parts.

This disorder manifests in Shibas through tail chasing and chewing. So, they not only chase their tail but also try to bite it with force.

This behavior can cause injuries to your canine friend. Therefore, you must take action to redirect their energy to something different.

Redirecting their energy might not always work; however, ensure you grasp some favorite activities or toys that you can use to redirect your Shibas attention.

Seeking For Attention

As we all know, Shiba Inus are kings regarding attention seeking. So, they can as well use this activity as a means to seek your attention.

This begins when they observe that you’re enjoying it; they’ll start to use it as entertainment.

If it’s what gets them what they want from you, they’ll do it when they can. Shiba Inus are attention seekers, thus the reason they are commonly known as “Drama Queens.”

If you often watch your canine friend as they chase their tail and you appear to enjoy it, they are happy to receive positive attention and will want to do it more.


Boredom is for sure your Shibas enemy. It’s the one thing that can trigger several bad behaviors, including tail chasing and destructive chewing.

When your canine friend is bored, they’re happy to spin in circles and chase their tails. This happens mostly when Shiba Inu is still young and full of energy.

Also, if your Shiba has been stuck inside the house for long hours, tail chasing is the next thing you expect.

When your Shiba Inus is still a puppy, they view its tail as a toy to play with and not its body part. So, you should discourage this behavior as it can be harmful.

What To Do If Your Shiba Inu Is Chasing Their Tail

  • Redirect Energy
  • Initiate Play
  • Provide Favorite Toy
  • Pet Them

What’s more;

Redirect Energy

Learning how to redirect your Shibas energy is a crucial survival trick. It works wonders when your canine friend is chasing and biting their tail.

So, you should have several activities that you can use to redirect your Shibas energy. This includes playing with or petting them.

Redirecting your Shibas energy is a positive reinforcement and works to the advantage of you and your pooch friend.

Initiate Play

You can also initiate play when your Shiba Inus is chasing their tail. Start with your Shibas favorite game, which you know they must want to participate in.

Do like two play sessions, and you can stop and provide some toys for them to continue enjoying themselves.

Although initiating play may not always work, it comes in handy for playful dogs. Use your Shibas favorite games when starting the play sessions.

Provide Favorite Toy

You should learn how to use your Shibas favorite toy to your advantage. Begin by limiting the time you provide the toy to your canine friend.

Therefore, make it something they should always ask for. However, when you want to redirect your Shiba from lousy behavior, provide this toy straight away.

Be careful; your Shiba Inu might learn always to start misbehaving when they need a toy. The key is to learn your Shibas likes and dislikes and use them to your advantage.

Pet Them

Some Shiba Inus like to be petted and also enjoy cuddles. So, provide these to alter their attention from doing something harmful like tail chasing.

Petting your Shiba Inu should come with some treats as a convincing currency. Shibas hardly want to be pet, especially during the initial years.

However, older adult Shibas like being pet and enjoy cuddles with their owner.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is My Shiba Inu Obsessed with His Tail?

Your Shiba Inu might be obsessed with his tail due to a lack of mental stimulation and the need for pent-up energy.

So, ensure you engage your Shiba Inus in activities that stimulate their mind.

Is It Okay for Shiba Inus to Chase Their Tail?

It’s almost natural for Shiba Inus to chase their tail at some point in life. However, not all Shiba Inus must pass through this stage.

The tail-chasing behavior is common in younger and older Shiba Inus.

Conclusion On Why Do Shibas Chase Their Tail?

Shiba Inus can chase their tail for various reasons, including anxiety, lack of mental stimulation, and separation anxiety.

Therefore, carefully examining your Shiba Inus will tell you why they’re chasing their tail. Also, food allergies can trigger this behavior.

Energy redirection is the best way to prevent this behavior from becoming harmful. Learn to redirect your Shibas energy to other activities.

For example, when they start tail chasing, use some toys or games to redirect their energy. They must certainly get distracted if you provide their favorite toy.

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