If your dog has been running in circles you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible reasons why your dog has been running in circles and what you can do to get your dog to stop doing it.
So, why does my dog run in circles? Possible reasons why your dog has been running in circles are to release excess energy, boredom, an issue with its diet, nervousness, excitement, inadvertently encouraging the behavior and medical issues.
Since there are a number of possible causes, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the cause, it should become easier to get your dog to stop doing it.
Why does my dog run in circles?
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been running in circles and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
To release excess energy
The reason why your dog runs in circles could be that it does it to release excess energy that it has. This would be more likely if it suddenly starts sprinting around the house or yard which is known as “Zoomies”.
It would also be more likely if it does it when it has been sedentary for a while such as in the morning.
Most dogs are meant to get a lot of daily exercise. When they do not get enough exercise it can cause them to behave abnormally and it might be why yours has been running in circles. This would be more likely if it tends to do it on days when it has not been able to get any exercise.
It would help to make sure that your dog is able to get the daily amount of recommended exercise for its age and breed if it is healthy.
An issue with its diet
It could be the case that there is a problem with its diet that is causing it to become hyperactive. This would be more likely if it started doing it when you changed its diet and if it started to act differently in other ways as well. It would also be more likely if it tends to do it more when it eats certain foods.
You can look here to see what you should and should not be feeding your dog. It would also help to make sure that no one else has been feeding it without telling you.
The reason why your dog does it could be that it is releasing nervous energy. This would be more likely if it does it right after something that might cause it to be nervous goes away.
For example, if it does it right after you had guests over and it had to be well behaved then it might be doing it to release nervous energy.
Sometimes, dogs will start running around when they are excited and it might be why your dog runs in circles. This would be more likely if it does it at times where it is likely to be excited such as when you are about to take it for a walk, when you’re playing with it or when you come home.
Inadvertently rewarding the behavior
It could also be the case that you have encouraged the behavior by giving it rewards when it does it. If you tend to give it things such as extra attention, toys or treats, when it runs in circles, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead of giving it things like treats, toys or attention when it does it, try to reward it when it is well behaved and to give it lots of exercise so that it is less likely to want to run around.
There are some medical reasons why your dog might be doing it.
There are some medical conditions that could be causing it such as dementia (source). This would be more likely if it started acting unusually in other ways as well such as by pulling to one side when on a leash.
A medical condition would be more likely if your dog has been doing it excessively, it has also been walking in circles or pacing a lot, if it has started doing it suddenly, it has been acting unusually in other ways and if it has been showing other signs of having a medical condition. If it does seem like your dog might have a medical condition then the best option would be to take it to a vet.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
How often your dog does runs in circles
It would help to consider how often your dog runs around in circles and if it often does other things such as chase its tail or shadows.
If it does those things multiple times per day then it would be compulsive behavior and the best thing to do would be to seek the guidance of a vet.
However, if it only runs around in circles occasionally then it would be more likely to be normal behavior.
What else happened when it first started doing it
If your dog has not always behaved that way, it would also help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it.
It would help to think about what else changed at around the same time that your dog started doing it. Some things to consider would be:
- If it started getting less exercise
- If you started working longer hours
- If you moved home
- If its diet changed
What is different when it tends to do it
It would also help to consider the timing of when it tends to do it since the timing might also have something to do with it.
If you notice that it tends to do it more on days where it has not gotten much exercise then it would be more likely that it does it to release some energy. Whereas, if it does it more when you get home then it might be due to excitement.
What to do about your dog running in circles
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop running in circles.
Take it to a vet
If it has been doing it excessively or it has been showing other signs of having medical issues, the best option would be to take it to a vet. By doing so, you should be able to rule out medical causes and to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog.
Ensure it is getting the right diet
It would also help to ensure that your dog is getting the right diet, especially if it started since a change in its diet or it does it when it eats certain foods. You can look here to see what you should and should not be feeding your dog. It would also help to ensure that no one else has been feeding it without you knowing.
Give it sufficient exercise
As mentioned above, it could be the case that your dog is not getting enough exercise. You can give it more exercise by walking it, playing fetch with it or having a dog walker do it for you.
If it is already getting the recommended amount of exercise, another way to stimulate it would be to give it daily training.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that it has learned that it gets rewards when it runs in circles. Instead, it would help to reward your dog when it behaves the way you want it to, to avoid rewarding it when it runs in circles and to follow the other tips above.
Let it do it if it is not compulsive
It is not unusual for dogs to run around in circles especially when they have been inactive for a while. Unless your dog is doing it constantly then it is unlikely to be something to be concerned with and it would be ok to let it do it.
Why does my dog circle me?
If your dog circles you, it could be due to things such as your dog trying to get something from you such as food or because your dog naturally has a herding instinct which would be more likely if your dog is a herding breed. It would help to consider the timing of when your dog circles you.
If your dog does it when you are walking it, it would be more likely that your dog is herding you. Whereas, if your dog does it just before you feed it, the cause would be more likely to be that your dog is trying to see if you have food.
Why does my dog run in circles when excited?
Dogs will often run around in circles when excited as a way of releasing excess energy. Dogs will also often run around just before pooping because it helps them to poop more easily.
Why does my dog run in circles when I arrive home?
If your dog runs in circles when you arrive home, it would be likely to be because your dog is feeling very energetic and is releasing its energy. Reasons, why your dog might feel energetic when you arrive home, are that your dog has some separation anxiety, or is excited to find out what you have brought back for it.
Why does my dog run in circles after a bath?
If your dog runs in circles after a bath, it would be likely that your dog is either trying to dry off or feeling very energetic due to the stimulation from the bath.