If your Labrador has been running in circles, you might be wondering why and what can be done about it. In this post, I will show you the most common reasons why they do it and what options you have in getting your Labrador to stop.
So, why does my Labrador run in circles? Possible reasons are that it is releasing excess energy, a lack of exercise, a problem with its diet, excitement or that you have inadvertently rewarded the behavior.
There are many reasons why your Labrador might run in circles. However, there are a number of things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there are a number of things you can do about it.
Why your Labrador runs in circles
Below are some common reasons why your Labrador might be doing it and what would make them more likely to be the main reason why yours has been doing it.
The reason why your Labrador 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.
Not enough exercise
Labradors 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.
Generally, it is recommended for Labradors to get an hour of exercise daily. If yours is not getting that much then it would help to make sure that it does.
It could be the case that there is a problem with its diet that is causing it to become energetic. 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 Labrador. It would also help to make sure that no one else has been feeding it without telling you.
Releasing nervous energy
The reason why your Labrador 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 Labrador 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.
You have been inadvertently rewarding it
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.
Things to consider
Below are some things you can consider when figuring out the main reason why your Labrador runs in circles.
Consider how often your Labrador does it
It would help to consider how often your Labrador 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.
When it started
If your Labrador 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 Labrador 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
When and where it happens
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.
How to stop your Labrador from running in circles
Below, are some things that you can do to reduce how much your Labrador feels the need to do it.
Give it lots of exercise
As mentioned above, it could be the case that your Labrador 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 about an hour of exercise daily then getting it to play fetch could be a good way to wear it out even more.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it is important to avoid encouraging the behavior. If possible ignore it when it does it, reward it when it is well behaved and give it lots of exercise so it doesn’t have as much excess energy.
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 Labrador 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.
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