If your dog has been spinning around a lot, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do to get your dog to stop doing it.
So, why does my dog spin around? Possible reasons why your dog spins around are anxiety, obsessive-compulsive behavior, inadvertently encouraging the behavior, a medical condition, wanting to be comfortable or just being playful.
Since there are a number of reasons why your dog might have been spinning around, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the main cause, it should become a lot easier to figure out the best thing to do about it.
Why your dog spins around
Below are a number of reasons why your dog might have been spinning around and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
The reason why it does it might be that something has been causing it to be anxious. This would be more likely if your dog started doing it after an event might have caused it to start being anxious such as an owner leaving. It would also be more likely if it does it more in situations where it might be anxious such as when someone is around that it does not like or when you are leaving home.
It might be the case that it has been doing it compulsively. This is where your dog has an irresistible urge to repeat the behavior. This would be more likely to be the case if your dog has been spinning in circles repeatedly over the course of weeks or months.
You have inadvertently rewarded the behavior
It might also be the case that it has been doing it because you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior. If you tend to give it things that it wants when it does it such as toys, treats or extra attention, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it is well behaved, to try and recognize when it is likely to start doing it and to redirect its behavior and to follow the other tips mentioned below.
It has a medical condition
Sometimes, medical conditions can cause dogs to spin around a lot (source). This would be more likely if your dog started doing it suddenly and if it has been acting unusually in other ways such as by pulling to the side when on walks.
If it does seem like something might be wrong medically then the best option would be to take it to a vet.
It wants to be comfortable
The reason could be that it simply does it in order to be comfortable. It is normal for dogs to spin around when they are about to lay down. If your dog tends to do it more when it is about to lay down then it would be more likely to be normal behavior.
It was just being playful
If your dog only does it occasionally then it could be the case that it does it because it is feeling playful. This would be more likely if it has not started doing it suddenly and if it does not behave unusually in other ways as well.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been spinning around a lot.
When your dog first started spinning around
If your dog has not always spun around a lot, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it.
If it started doing it suddenly it would be more likely to be due to things such as a medical condition or being anxious. But, it would help to consider what else changed at around the same time that it started doing it.
Whereas, if it has always done it then it could be due to things such as obsessive-compulsive behavior, separation anxiety, natural behavior or you might have inadvertently trained it to do it when it was young. In this case, it would help to talk to your vet about it when you see them next for a checkup.
When it does it more
It would also help to consider the timing of when it spins around since the timing could also have something to do with it.
For example, if it tends to do it more when you are about to leave home then it would make it more likely that it does it due to separation anxiety.
What to do about your dog spinning around
Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.
Take it to a vet
If your dog has started doing it suddenly or it has been doing it excessively, the best option would be to take it to a vet. By doing so you will be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog and to rule out the possibility of it being due to a medical condition.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it could be the case that your dog has learned to do it more in order to get rewards. Instead of giving your dog things that it wants when it does it try to reward it when it is being well behaved and to try and redirect its focus before it starts doing it.
Ensure it is getting the right amount of exercise
If your dog is not getting enough exercise, it could be causing your dog to spin around and be energetic in other ways due to having a lot of excess energy. If it is healthy, it would help to ensure that it is able to get the daily amount of recommended exercise for its age and breed.
Get help from a dog behaviorist
If you cannot get it to stop doing it, you could also get help from a dog behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to see why it has been doing it and what you can do to get it to stop.