The study included dogs that chased their tails daily for several hours, dogs that chased their tails a few times a month, and dogs that had observably never chased their tails. With most of the dogs, the tail chasing had begun at the age of 3 to 6 months, before reaching sexual maturity.
One of the most interesting findings of this study is the connection with stereotypic behavior and vitamins and minerals. Dogs that received nutritional supplements, especially vitamins and minerals, with their food, chased their tails less.
"Our study does not prove an actual causal relationship between vitamins and lessened tail chasing, but interestingly similar preliminary results have been observed in human OCD" says researcher, Katriina Tiira, PhD. Follow-up studies will aim to prove whether vitamins could be beneficial in the treatment of tail chasing.
Early separation from the mother and the mother's poor care of the puppy were also found in the study to predispose dogs to tail chasing. Early separation from the mother has been discovered to predispose also other animals to stereotypic behavior, but this is the first time this connection has been made with dogs.
The amount of exercise the dogs received or the number of activities they engaged in did not, however, seem to have a connection with tail chasing. This could be comforting news to many owners of dogs with compulsive behaviors, since often the owners themselves or the dogs' living environme
|Contact: Dr. Katriina Tiira|
University of Helsinki