Whether out of excitement, expectation, or anxiety, many dogs jump around in circles. Has this ever happened to your pup? We are pretty sure the answer is yes. All dogs experience this unusual behavior from time to time, and it is not necessarily a cause for concern.
On the other hand, if your dog is spinning around in circles more often than usual, you need to be on the lookout, as it can also be a sign of certain medical ailments. Determining how often and in what conditions does the spinning take place will help you figure out the cause and take the right actions.
The Root of the Behavior
There are a few questions you can ask yourself in order to find out what exactly is causing your dog to jump around in circles. For example: does he circle until he drops, does he do it before going to bed, does he do it before potty time, or does his drive to spin outweigh his desire to eat? Every reaction has a cause and the answer to these questions will help you establish if he simply needs more exercise and attention or a trip to see the veterinarian.
Going back to his ancestors who lived in the wild, your doggie may simply be spinning in circles to create the perfect sleeping area. When a dog spins around in circles before bedtime, it may simply be his way of checking his digging work and making sure that he has a cozy and safe place to sleep. More so, by releasing their scent while circling, your furry friend is sending an alert to the other dogs in the area. Look at it as a smart way to survey the surroundings, just like in the wild.
On the other hand, anxiety and fear could also play an important role in triggering this concerning behavior. If your dog has suffered from abuse or a stressful life in the past, you are more likely to see this type of uncontrollable reaction. It is an abnormal response to normal stimulation when your dog feels two conflicting feelings and doesn’t really know what to do. At the same time, this can also represent his natural response to a potential physical attack by larger dogs, which is why he may be circling his immediate area obsessively.
When a dog is jumping around in circles it can also mean they just need to use the restroom, allowing them to sniff for possible predators and avoid any surprise attacks while in a vulnerable posture. In some cases, the behavior may be indicative of potential health issues such as inner ear infection, vestibular syndrome, injury, or even a brain tumor.
Encouraging the Behavior
Depending on the cause of the behavior, you and your vet can identify the proper treatment for your furry companion. You need to pay close attention to their behavior before and after the fact. Make sure you monitor how often he runs in circles and look for ways to distract your dog from spinning. If the reason is a canine compulsion, you need to take a deeper look into his life. Think about it… does he get enough attention from you throughout the day, is always left alone in the house, is he getting enough exercise or stimulation?
He needs something to occupy his mind to make sure he gets his daily walks and give him access to toys that he can use to entertain himself. Furthermore, make sure you stop the jumping around before it gets too difficult to manage. What you can do is provide distractions each time it happens, plan-out each day so that your dog knows what to expect, and give your dog plenty of attention when he is engaged in appropriate behaviors.
At the same time, don’t punish them for this type of behavior, as it will only increase their anxiety and make your life a lot harder. Instead, focus on showering him with much-needed affection and consult your veterinarian if you suspect there’s more to it than just… happy spinning.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Understanding the reason for your dog jumping around in circles will help you take the best action. The next time he starts spinning around the house, if you know he has not been outside yet… it is best to bring out the leash. A reasonable explanation for this is that your pup simply needs to kick-start his bowel movement. It could very well be that circling helps accomplish this. Consider this a pre-bathroom ritual and make sure he knows when and where to do it.
So if you see him spinning around in circles while smelling the ground, you know what needs to be done: he needs to go outside… asap.
There are various causes for your dog jumping around in circles, however, spinning does not necessarily mean that your pup is suffering from an unknown illness. Doing a little bit of investigative work will help you get to the bottom of this and on the path to fixing it. Be sure to ask your vet for advice and let him have his daily dose of energy-fueled activity to burn off that extra excitement.