Dog Biting Other Dogs Tail? [Quirk or Concern?]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

So, your pooch has developed a taste for other dogs’ tails, huh?

I’ve been in your shoes, and I know how confusing and concerning this can be.

You’re probably asking, “Why is my dog biting other dogs tail, and how can I stop it?”

There are a few common issues that range from just being playful to trying to assert its dominance over another dog. That said, there are many ways that you can prevent this from happening.

In this blog post, I’ll dive into the reasons behind this peculiar behavior and offer you some immediate solutions to help curb it.

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Why Do Dogs Bite Other Dogs’ Tails?

Why Do Dogs Bite Other Dogs' Tails?

As a dog owner with two adorable pups, Bella and Molly, I’ve witnessed firsthand that dogs biting each other’s tails is a totally normal thing! 

And I understand that it can be worrisome for dog owners. 

Are these bites just playful or a sign of aggression? 

Let’s dig into the reasons behind this behavior!

Play and socialization

Imagine two friends having a playful wrestling match. Nipping and gnawing at each other is just part of it. I should say, no body parts are spared!

It’s their way of interacting, setting boundaries, and having fun together. They use their tails as a means of communication like friends exchanging high-fives.

Dominance

Sometimes, dogs bite another dog’s legs or tail to establish who’s in charge. It’s like one dog saying, “Hey, I’m the boss around here!” 

This dominant behavior is more common in male canines. It’s kind of like a group of friends competing to be the leader of their gang.

Anxiety and fear

Your doggie can get anxious or scared due to many reasons, and when they do, they might redirect those feelings by biting another dog, tail included. 

It’s like when you bite your nails when you’re worried. They need help to feel more at ease, just like you do.

Medical issues

Surprisingly, dogs may bite other dogs’ tails due to medical issues.

Just like when you have an itch, you can’t resist scratching. Dogs with allergies, infections, or injuries may find relief by biting other dogs’ tails. 

They’re not being mean but just trying to alleviate their discomfort.

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Doggy says, consider reading this too: Why is my Goldendoodle biting?

How to Stop My Dog From Biting Other Dogs’ Tails

Stopping your dog from biting other dogs’ tails requires following these helpful guidelines:

Training and socialization

Commands like “sit” and “leave it” are the building blocks of good behavior. They redirect your dog’s attention away from other dogs’ tails.

Just like making new friends and exploring different places, your dog needs to do the same. 

Introduce them to various people, animals, and environments from a young age and allow them to socialize.

Start with small, supervised playdates to ensure positive interactions with other dogs.

Observe their behavior closely and cheer them on when they show good manners.

Managing dominance and aggression

If your dog’s tail-biting behavior connects to dominance or aggression, I think you should really seek guidance from an expert dog trainer or behaviorist who can evaluate the situation and offer strategies to manage and modify these behaviors. 

They may suggest specific exercises or techniques to establish a more balanced social interaction.

Addressing anxiety and fear

If anxiety or fear is causing your dog to bite tails, create a calm environment and gradually expose them to positive interactions with other dogs. 

Consider desensitization and counterconditioning techniques to help them associate positive experiences with other dogs.

Addressing health issues

If medical issues are the cause, consult a veterinarian to rule out allergies, infections, irritations, or injuries that may be causing discomfort. 

Treating the underlying health problem can help alleviate the behavior.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: My dog killed a groundhog

What to Do if a Dog Bit Another Dog’s Tail?

If you find yourself in a situation where your dog is fighting with another dog or one is biting the other, stay calm and stop it from getting worse.

Here are some quick tips.

Assess the situation

Separate the dogs quickly to prevent further aggression or injury and be sure to keep yourself safe too. 

Has there been an injury? How severe is it? Make a quick assessment before taking the next steps.

First aid for tail injuries in dogs

If there’s indeed an injury, you should take immediate steps to treat it or at least stop it from getting aggravated.

For a light injury like a scratch or bite wound, gently clean the area with a mild antiseptic or saline solution if you have it.

Then, put a clean, sterile bandage on the wound to control any bleeding and protect it from more harm. 

You might also wanna use a cone collar to prevent the dog from licking or biting the injured tail.

Seek veterinary care

If the injury looks serious or infected (with swelling or discharge), don’t wait. Seek expert help. 

Your dog doctor will carefully examine the tail, assess the injury’s extent, and provide the proper treatment—like cleaning the wound, giving antibiotics, relieving pain, or even performing surgery if needed.

Report the incident

Sometimes, you need to let the authorities know about the dog bite, depending on the circumstances and local rules. 

Connect with your local animal control or relevant authorities to find out how to report dog bite incidents.

Reporting helps track what happened and take the necessary actions.

Prevent future incidents

You want to avoid such situations from happening again, right? Let’s take preventive measures. 

Begin by teaching your dog good behavior through training and socialization programs.

When your doggy pal interacts with other dogs, keep them under control. 

Lastly, avoid situations that may trigger aggression in your dog or lead to confrontations. 

If you need extra support, consult a professional dog trainer or behaviorist.

They are expert guides who can provide valuable advice on managing and modifying your dog’s behavior.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Dog mouth quivers after licking

What Does Good Dog Play Look Like?

Good play between dogs typically involves the following characteristics:

  • Loose and relaxed body language. During good play, dogs have loose and relaxed bodies. Their tails wag gently, and their faces look relaxed. There should not be any stiffness or rigidity.
  • Mutual engagement. Both dogs want to join in and show interest in each other in a good play. They start the game almost like saying, “Tag, you’re it!” or “Catch me if you can!” 
  • Balanced give-and-take. Good play is like a dance where both partners take turns leading. Dogs playfully chase each other or give little nips without causing harm or being aggressive. Basically, a friendly wrestling match without getting hurt.
  • Responsive play signals. Dogs have their secret language during play. They speak to each other with unique signals. For example, play bowing, where a dog lowers its front and raises its rear end, saying, “Let’s play!”
  • Pauses and breaks. Even during the most fun games, we all need a break to catch our breath, right? Dogs are the same too. They pause for a moment, rest, and then start playing again. 
  • Playful vocalizations. Imagine dogs having a chatty conversation during play. They bark, growl, or make funny noises playfully and gently. It’s like they’re saying, “I’m having a blast!” These sounds go along with their happy body language.

What Does Bad Dog Play Look Like?

Sometimes, dog play can go from fun to bad, which could lead to aggression. 

Here are signs to watch for:

  • Stiff or tense body language: If dogs look rigid, with raised fur, a stiff tail, or a closed mouth, it’s a sign things might go wrong.
  • Growling or snarling: When dogs make deep snarls, they’re aggressive during play, accompanied by intense body language.
  • Overly rough or aggressive behavior: Dogs may start biting too hard, lunging, or body slamming each other, going beyond what’s considered a fun play.
  • Ignoring signals: Dogs engaged in foul play might bypass or not understand signals from the other dog, pestering them even when they show discomfort.
  • Fearful or defensive behavior: One or both dogs might act scared, cower, tuck their tails, or try to run away from the situation.
  • Inability to take breaks: Dogs in bad play struggle to pause or disengage. Even if one dog wants to stop, the intensity of play won’t decrease.
  • Risk of harm or injury: Bad play raises the chances of dogs hurting each other. Bites can be harder, causing distress, pain, or injury.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to spot a potentially aggressive dog?

To spot a potentially aggressive dog, watch for signs like intense staring, rigid body posture, raised hackles, growling, snarling, lunging, or snapping. Aggressive dogs may seem uninterested in normal social cues or exhibit signs of fear or anxiety.

What breeds are more likely to bite other dogs’ tails

While aggression is not only determined by breed, it’s important to remember that individual temperament and socialization play a significant role. However, certain breeds, like Rottweilers, Pit bulls, and German shepherds, may have a higher tendency for such behaviors if not properly trained and socialized.

In Conclusion: Dog Biting Other Dogs Tail

With a little patience and the right approach, we can turn tail-chasing troubles into peaceful playtimes.

Remember, getting your dog socialized young and keeping a close eye on telltale signs are your best bets in preventing any aggression such as tail biting.

I hope the above tips will help you and your dog out!

Check out these dog behavior articles too:

You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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