If your dog sometimes circles you this post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do about it.

So, why does my dog circle me? Possible reasons why your dog circles you are that it is excited, being dominating, looking for attention or it might be a herding instinct.

There are some things you can consider when trying to figure out the exact reason why it does it. Once you have a good idea of the cause, it should become easier for you to get it to stop.

Why your dog circles you

Each of the different reasons why your dog circles you will likely come with some clues.

Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been circling you.

It’s excited

The reason why your dog circles you could be that it is excited. This would be more likely if it does it in situations such as when you come home or when you are about to take it for a walk. In this case, it could be that it is trying to show its excitement or that it wants to get you to exercise it sooner.

Related: Why does my dog stand over me?

It is being dominating

It might be the case that it circles you because it is being dominating. This would be more likely if it does it in a way that gets you to move.

To stop this it would be important to give your dog lots of training and to follow the other tips mentioned below.

It wants attention

The reason why it does it could be that it is looking for attention. This would be more likely if it does it more when you have not been giving it much attention or if you give it extra attention when it does it.

In this case, it would help to reward it when it is well behaved and to follow the tips mentioned below to get it to stop doing it.

It’s a herding instinct

The reason why your dog does it could be that it is a herding instinct. This would be more likely if it does it a lot more when you are walking it, if it is a herding breed and if it does it to other people as well. To prevent this kind of circling, try walking in the opposite direction that it circles you especially if it tries to move you.

Things to consider

When your dog first started circling you

It would help to consider when your dog first started doing it since it could be the case that an event caused it to start doing it.

If it did not always do it then it would be more likely that it started because it learned that it gets rewards when it does it.

Whereas, if it has always done it then it would be more likely to be due to being a herding instinct.

When and where your dog circles you most

It would also help to consider whether or not there is a certain time that it tends to do it more. If there is a certain time that it tends to do it more then it could be the case that the timing has something to do with it.

For example, if it does it more when you are on walks then it would be more likely that it is either a herding instinct or that it is being dominating if it tries to move you.

What to do about your dog circling you

Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop circling you.

Walk in the opposite direction to it

If it does it when you are walking it then try to walk in the opposite direction to it since this will force it to stop and to see you as the leader.

You could also try stopping walking whenever it does it so that it learns that circling causes you to stop walking it. You can watch the video below to see how this is done.

Avoid negative reinforcement

Negative reinforcement is where you give your dog rewards when it does things you don’t want it to which encourages it to do it more. Instead of giving your dog things it wants when it circles you it would help to reward it when it is well behaved, to follow the two tips above and to try to redirect its behavior when it starts doing it.

Give it lots of training

If you have not been giving your dog much training it would help to start now by teaching it the basics and building up from there. I have written about how you can teach it to come here and how you can train it to stay here.

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I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.