We have two dogs - a four year old male and a 2 year old female, same breed and roughly same size.

We've had the 2 year old for a few weeks now. So far the two dogs are getting along well. They play a lot and they've only been in a few fights that were mostly our fault for not paying enough attention.

Recently, the male dog started grabbing the female's tail, while they are running chasing each other. He uses her tail to bring her to the ground. When the female goes down, she still does not show signs that he doesn't want to play, but we are wondering if this should be acceptable behavior. I have never heard of dogs biting another dog's tail while running/chasing and using it to bring the other dog down. I recorded a video of that here in the first few seconds.

If it's not good to allow a dog to do this, how can we train the male to stop?

  • So it sounds like you've answered this in the question, but let me get this straight: you've paid attention to the signs I indicated in my last question, and the dogs still show 100% signs of play, even when tail-biting? If that's the case, I personally am not entirely sure. I know that it can be dangerous to control a dog by its tail as it can break its tail, which I understand to be pretty painful. But I wouldn't know how to stop the behavior (you don't really want to get between the dogs while they're happily playing... that would actually have a counter-effect of un-socializing them).
    – jeremy
    Aug 5, 2014 at 4:18
  • Yes, as far as I can tell there are no signs from the female that she wants intervention. I'm worried for the reason you mentioned- I read that pulling on a dog's tail can cause injuries that could affect the dog for their lifetime.
    – Sabien
    Aug 5, 2014 at 5:43
  • Have you tried the obnoxious yelp?
    – jeremy
    Aug 5, 2014 at 5:45
  • I did try that with the rough neck biting. The first time, they both stopped and looked at me and I told them to come and they did. But after that, they became immune to the noise and now ignore me. What we do now if we ever have to break them up is use a compressed air can. We don't shoot it at them - the sound alone breaks their focus for some reason. But, the problem with the tail thing is it happens when they're running very fast chasing each other. Once he grabs her tail she goes down, and we can't get there fast enough to shoot the can at the moment he grabs her tail.
    – Sabien
    Aug 5, 2014 at 5:57
  • Ok I managed to get some footage. Here is a link: vimeo.com/102687098 - also after the tail bite take down I included a bit of footage of his neck biting, although the footage I was able to capture has not been the most extreme that I have seen.
    – Sabien
    Aug 6, 2014 at 3:36

1 Answer 1


I watched the video and don't think you have anything to worry about. Their play looks completely normal. The female going down is a submissive thing and she doesn't look scared at all, particularly because she continued to bite/mouth at him after he backed off. If she didn't like it, her body language would be different; right now it looks like she's playing. She definitely wouldn't mouth back, would run away as soon as he let her up and she'd most likely be vocally complaining, too.

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