It might be quite concerning if your Labrador has been spinning around a lot. This post will show you common reasons why they do it and what you can do about them.
So, why does my Labrador 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.
Your Labrador could be doing it for many reasons 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 Labrador spins around
Below are some common reasons why Labradors 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 Labrador 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.
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. It would help to take measures to reduce its separation anxiety by doing things such as exercising it, feeding it and letting it pee before leaving.
It might be the case that it has been doing it compulsively. This is where your Labrador has an irresistible urge to repeat the behavior. This would be more likely to be the case if your Labrador has been spinning in circles repeatedly over the course of weeks or months.
You have inadvertently rewarded the behavior
The cause might also be partly because you have encouraged the behavior by rewarding it. 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 Labrador 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 Labrador 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 Labrador only does it occasionally then it could be the case that it does it because it is feeling playful.
Things to consider
Below are a number of things you can consider when trying to figure out the exact reason why your Labrador might be doing it.
When it started doing it
If your Labrador did not always spin around, 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 if it tends to do it more in specific situations since the timing might 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 Labrador spinning around
Below are some options you have when getting your Labrador to stop spinning around.
Take it to a vet
If your Labrador 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 Labrador 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 Labrador has learned to do it more in order to get rewards. Instead of giving your Labrador 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.