If your Golden Retriever has been pacing or walking in circles you might want to know why and what you can do about it. In this post, I will show you a number of reasons why it might be doing it and what would make them more likely.
So, why does my Golden Retriever pace or walk in circles? Possible reasons are that it is anxious, someone mistreated it, you might have inadvertently rewarded the behavior or it might be due to a medical condition.
There are many reasons why your Golden Retriever might be doing it and it could be due to a combination of them. However, there are some things you can do about it and there are some things to consider when trying to figure out the cause more precisely.
Why your Golden Retriever walks in circles
Below are some common causes and what would make them more likely to be the reason why your Golden Retriever has been doing it.
The reason might be that something has been causing it to be anxious. This would be more likely if it started doing it more after a stressful event such as an owner leaving or another pet dying.
It would also be more likely if it does it in certain situations such as when a certain person is around or when you are about to leave. If it does do it when you are about to leave, it might be because it has separation anxiety. It might help to follow the tips given in this book on Amazon which is about how to deal with dog separation anxiety.
It could be the case that your Golden Retriever has been doing due to a compulsive-obsessive disorder which is where it feels an irresistible urge to do it and it can’t stop doing it. This would be more likely if your Golden Retriever has been pacing or walking in circles excessively over the course of weeks or months. You can look here for more information about compulsive behavior in dogs.
You have inadvertently rewarded the behavior
It might also be the case that you have trained it to do it by giving it things it wants when it does it. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention when it paces or walks in circles, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it is being well behaved and to learn to recognize when it is likely to start doing it and to redirect its behavior.
Someone has mistreated it
The reason why it has been doing it could be that someone mistreated it.
This would be more likely if you recently adopted it from a shelter. If you did recently adopt it then it would be likely that it will begin to calm down as it gets comfortable. However, it would help to have a vet check on it and to give it lots of positive attention in the form of training, exercise and by playing with it.
It could also be the case that someone mistreated it recently which would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly and if it tries to avoid a certain person.
It has a medical condition
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.
If it does seem like your Golden Retriever 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 trying to figure out why your Golden Retriever has been pacing.
When it first started walking in circles or pacing
If your Golden Retriever has not always paced or walked in circles, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it.
If it started walking in circles suddenly it would be more likely to be due to things such as being anxious, being mistreated or a medical condition.
If it has always done walked in circles or paced it could be due to separation anxiety, getting rewarded when it does it or it could be an obsessive-compulsive behavior.
When it tends to walk in circles or pace
If there is a certain time that it tends to do pace or walk in circles it would also help to consider what is different when it does it.
If it tends to do it more when you are about to leave home it would make it more likely to be because it has separation anxiety. Whereas, if it does it more when a certain person is around it could be that it feels uncomfortable around that person for some reason.
How to get your Golden Retriever to stop walking in circles
Below are some options you have when getting your Golden Retriever to stop doing it.
Take it to a vet
If you are not able to figure out the cause, it has been behaving abnormally in other ways 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 Golden Retriever and to hopefully rule out medical causes.
Avoid encouraging it
As mentioned above, it could be the case that you have encouraged the behavior by giving it things that it wants when it does it. Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want and to try to recognize when it is likely to start doing it and to redirect its focus on to something else.
Take it for annual checkups
It is also important to take your Golden Retriever for checkups at the vet at least annually. By doing so you will be able to identify and treat diseases before they become problematic.