If your Golden Retriever has been spinning around a lot, you probably want to know why and what you can do about it. This post will show you common reasons why they do it and what you can do to stop it.
So, why does my Golden Retriever spin around? Possible reasons are that it is anxious, it’s an obsessive-compulsive behavior, you have inadvertently rewarded it for doing it, someone mistreated it, there is a medical condition or it might just be being playful.
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 to consider when trying to figure out the exact reason and there are some things you can do about it.
Why your Golden Retriever spins around
Below are six common reasons why Golden Retrievers spin around and what would make them more likely to be the reason why yours has been doing it.
It could be the case that something has been causing it to be anxious. This would be more likely if your Golden Retriever started doing it after an event might have caused it to start being anxious such as an owner leaving or a new pet being added to the family. 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.
If it does do it more when you are leaving home then it would be more likely to be the case that it has some separation anxiety.
If it does seem to have some separation anxiety it would help to take measures to reduce it.
To do this you could do as follows:
- Make it seem like you are about to leave by doing something such as picking up your keys
- Reward your Golden Retriever for not being anxious and repeat these two steps a few times
- Make more moves towards actually leaving such as by picking up the keys and putting your hand on the door handle
- Reward your Golden Retriever for not being anxious and repeat the process a few times
- Actually open the door and go outside for a few moments then come back and reward your Golden Retriever
- Repeat the above, each time staying outside for slightly longer
It could be the case that it has been doing it compulsively. This is where your Golden Retriever has an irresistible urge to repeat the behavior. This would be more likely to be the case if your Golden Retriever has been spinning in circles repeatedly over the course of weeks or months.
You have inadvertently rewarded the behavior
It could also be the case that it has learned that spinning around results in it getting things that it wants. 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 Golden Retriever 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 Golden Retriever 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 Golden Retriever only does it occasionally then it could be the case that it does it because it is feeling playful.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider about it spinning around.
When it started doing it
It would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it if it did not always do 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
If there are certain times that it tends to spin around, it would also help to consider what is different about the timing of 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 Golden Retriever spinning around
Below are some options you have when getting your Golden Retriever to stop spinning around.
Take it to a vet
If your Golden Retriever has been spinning around 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 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 Golden Retriever has learned to do it more in order to get rewards. Instead of giving your Golden Retriever things that it wants when it does it try to reward it when it is well behaved and to try and redirect its focus before it starts doing it.
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.