Whenever our pets start showing new behaviours, whilst they may not be a cause for concern at first, they can soon become quite worrying. Whilst circling is mostly an innocent behaviour, it may be a sign of something more serious.
Why Does My Dog Walk In Circles Around Me?
There can be many reasons that your dog is circling around you, including being anxious, excited to see you, or due to illness. It’s the latter of these that makes it important to check them and make a possible trip to the vets for reassurance.
Why Does My Dog Walk In Circles Around Me?
Dog Is Excited
Dogs are very excitable animals and one of the ways they will show they’re excited is by circling around you. For example, if you’re holding one of their favourite toys or treats or tell them it’s time to go for a walk, they might start circling around you out of pure excitement.
Excessive Pent Up Energy
Depending on the breed of dog that you have will vary the amount of energy that they have. This is why it’s important to research dog breeds before you get a dog so that you can get one that is suited to your lifestyle and give them the appropriate amount of exercise every day.
They Want To Go To The Toilet
There are many reasons why your dog might start circling if they need to go to the toilet. One of these reasons is that it’s a sign to you to let them out to the toilet. The other is because they’re trampling on the grass before they poop so the grass can’t disturb them.
Dog Wants Your Attention
Dogs are always after attention, sometimes just to get you watching them and other times because they’re trying to tell you something. If it’s the latter, you need to be paying attention because they could be trying to tell you something serious, such as needing the toilet.
Trying To Dominate
Some dogs, mostly males, can be quite dominant. Given that dogs traditionally come from packs, one dog within that pack has to be dominant and they will show this dominance by circling.
Your dog’s breed can play a big part in whether or not they circle around you. Breeds within the Collie, Shepherd, Sheepdog, and Welsh Corgi variety are more likely to intrinsically start circling around you because they’re traditionally used for herding livestock.
Just Trying To Herd You
Similar to what was mentioned above, if it is in your dog’s nature to start circling around you, this may manifest into them trying to herd you. If your dog’s breed is one that would traditional herd livestock, such as a Border Collie, this may be what they are trying to do.
Stress is something many dogs will feel from time to time and some more than others. This is most common in dogs who have been recently adopted as they are trying to get used to their new surroundings, so might exhibit some odd behaviours as a coping mechanism.
Dog Loves You And You Are Their Chosen One!
Dogs have their favourite people and if you have been out on a long day at work and come home after your dog has been on their own all day, or even if they’ve been with other people, they’re going to start circling around you because they’re excited to see their favourite person.
Dogs can experience feelings of fear just like we can. If there is something that has caused them to become scared, they might start circling around you because they want to feel closer to you because they feel safer around you.
Just like circling because of fear, dogs may be circling for the same reason because they are feeling quite anxious.
For example, if someone new comes into the house, your dog might start circling around you because they want to feel safe and reassured that nothing bad will happen to them.
Confused Don’t Know Where To Go
This is most likely to happen when out on walks. Sometimes dogs can get overly excited about being out and about or might become overwhelmed by all the senses they experience. Let them sniff around and eventually they’ll start to calm down.
Just like us, dogs can show feelings of happiness and one of the ways they can show this is by circling around you. For example, if you have just come home from work, they might start circling around you to show that they’re happy to see you.
This is similar to feeling stress and anxiety but can be more to feeling uneased in a physical or mental way. For example, your dog might be in pain so might start circling around you to show that they’re not well and to look for some sort of comfort from you.
Dogs are very good at letting us know how they’re feeling, even though they can’t verbally communicate with us. If your dog is circling around you and appears to be in pain in some way, check them over and take them to the vets if necessary.
Just like pain, dogs can also experience feelings of discomfort and will start circling around you to show you as such. Look out for other signs such as limping or them looking a bit stiff and take them to the vets to get them checked over.
Dogs need plenty of mental stimulation throughout the day and if they’re not getting this then they’re going to start getting bored. This means they’ll start circling, probably even chasing their tail, in order to stimulate themselves.
The whole point of the liver is to rid the body from various toxins. However, if your dog has liver disease, the toxins will build up and your dog will be required to go into hospital. Signs other that circling includes dizziness, excessive tiredness, weakness, indigestion, and disorientation.
Dementia is more common in older dogs and can cause them to see spaced out and confused. One of the non-obvious symptoms of dementia in dogs is circling and it is something that at first won’t happen that much but will get worse as the dementia progresses.
If your dog has recently had some sort of head injury, there is a chance that they might have concussion. As well as walking in circles, it can also cause your dog to have issues with their balance and become dizzy. Your dog will need plenty of rest but should be fine after a few days.
Parasites, such as lice, fleas, and mites, can cause your dog to have an irritated and inflamed rear end. This will cause them to circle but as they will be feeling quite itchy, it can also cause them to drag themselves or scoot along the floor.
This is particularly likely to happen in older dogs and as you may or may not know, arthritis can be quite painful. If your dog is constantly circling and say, for example, they’re wanting to lie down, they’ll be doing this because they want to lie down but it’s too painful for them to do so.
If your dog has been infected by parasites, this can cause your dog to exhibit many usual behaviours, such as circling, scooting, and dragging. This is why it’s important you keep up with your dog’s flea medicine so that this doesn’t happen.
Just like us, dogs can also get ear infections and this can cause them to have issues with balance, which then leads to circling. To be sure it’s an ear infection, check for redness, soreness, scabs, and a foul smell and take them to the vets for treatment.
Vestibular Balance Disorder
This is a disorder that is more likely to affect older dogs and as well as circling, can cause your dog to knock into objects, drool, and randomly collapse. As well as old age, this can also be caused by injury, nutritional deficiency, inner ear infection, or abnormal tissue inflammation.
There are a number of different neurological diseases dogs can get that will cause them to act differently, such as by circling. This includes tumors, strokes, inflammation of the brain, and hydrocephalus. These are the most common and your dog will need to see a vet in this case.
Brain Tumor/ Inflammation Of The Brain /Hydrocephalus
These are three of the more common forms of neurological disease and can cause your dog to act in different ways, including circling. Other symptoms includes a domed skull, wide eyes, slow growth, and difficulties with eating, drinking, and house training.
Strokes occur in both humans and dogs when blood flow to the brain is obstructed or a blood vessel bursts and deprives the nerve cells of oxygen. It’s important you look out for any other signs of a stroke in dogs and get them to the vets as soon as possible for treatment.
How To Stop My Dog Walking In Circles Around Me?
Tire Them Out
If your dog isn’t getting enough exercise or play time, this can cause quite a lot of energy to build up inside them, which is what leads to them circling. Give them the right amount of exercise and play time that they need and this should tire them out by the end of the day.
Check Their Ears
Circling can be one of the signs of an ear infection, however, this alone isn’t enough proof and you will need to check their ears for redness, soreness, scabs, and any foul smells and if any of those are happening, take them to the vets to get the infection treated.
Don’t Encourage It
It can be very easy for owners to reward their dogs for various behaviours on accident, particularly the first time your dog exhibits this behaviour. Try not to give them any form of reward, such as petting or treats, and with time, they should stop circling.
Consult A Vet
In some cases, such as illness or injury in particular, when your dog is circling around you, it might be necessary to consult a vet to see what is wrong with your pet pooch so that they can receive any necessary treatment.
Consult A Dog Trainer
If you have tried your best to get your dog to stop circling and they’re still doing it, you can always get a trainer involved, who will be able to show you and your dog a variety of different training techniques to get them out of this habit.
Don’t Pay Attention
Dogs are always on the lookout for attention and if they have realised that them circling is giving them any form of attention, whether it’s positive or negative, they’re likely to keep on doing it.
Whereas, if you ignore them, they’ll realise this isn’t the way to get your attention and will stop doing it.
Distractions are always a really good technique at getting your dog to stop doing something that you don’t want them to do. Get a toy or get them to stop and sit and if they stop circling, give them a treat to reward the good behaviour and eventually they’ll learn to stop circling.
When Did Your Dog First Start Circling You?
When you are trying to get to the bottom of why your dog is circling you, you should first look to when you first started noticing this behaviour. If it’s something they’ve always done, it’s unlikely to be any cause for concern.
However, if this has happened all of a sudden, this could be the sign of something more serious and may require a trip to the vets.
Why Does My Dog Walk In Circles Around Me When Excited?
This is just one of the behaviours your dog might exhibit if they are excited.
You might be holding their favourite treat or toy, or you might even have their lead in your hand to signal that it’s time for them to go on a walk, which are all things that will get them excited and cause them to circle.
Why Is My Dog Walking In Circles Around The House?
If your dog is circling in the house, this could mean a number of different things. The main causes are likely needing the toilet or being excited to see you.
Why Is My Dog Walking In Circles All Of A Sudden?
If your dog has out of nowhere started to walk in circles, this could be the sign of something serious. Look for other signs in your dog and if you notice any potential signs of illness, or even if you’re simply concerned about the circling on it’s own, take your dog to the vet for a check-up.
Dog Walking In Circles For Hours?
This could potentially be from boredom and having lots of energy, or it could be the sign of a more serious problem that may involve a trip to the vet.
What Does It Mean When A Dog Walks In Circles And Is Disoriented?
If your dog is walking in circles and appears disorientated, this could be the sign of a more serious disease, such as liver disease. If both of these symptoms plus others arise, you should take your dog to the vets immediately to get them the appropriate treatment.
Dog Walks In Circles All Day?
If this is something your dog does all the time, this could potentially be a sign of something being seriously wrong with them and you might need to take them to the vets to get them checked over.
Why Does My Dog Circle My Legs/Feet?
This is likely because they are excited to see you and because you are their favourite person, so circle around you to get as close to you as possible. Either that or because they are scared or anxious about something.
Why Does My Dog Circle Me When I Come Home?
It’s more than likely that your dog is circling around you when you come home because they are happy to see you. Dogs are sociable animals and if they have been left home alone all day, they’ll be happy that there is finally someone at home for them to play with.
Where Do Dogs Learn To Circle?
Your dog learning how to circle is an intrinsic trait that they have. Their ancestors who used to live in the wild would circle and this seems to have been handed down to even of the most domesticated of dogs.