Behaviors: Why Dogs Run in Circles

11 Feb Behaviors: Why Dogs Run in Circles

Something you’ve probably noticed dogs doing at some point is running around in circles at a very high speed. Practically zooming, if you will. It’s a common and rather enjoyable canine behavior, but not everyone knows why dogs do it.

And honestly, there’s not a big mystery to this. Dogs engage in the “zoomies,” if you will, when they’ve got pent up energy that they feel the urge to release. They do this via running around in circles really, really fast. When they run that suddenly, and go that fast, their energy dissipates quickly and leaves them calmer. Panting, but calmer.

But what makes dogs feel the need to release energy this way? Now that’s a slightly more complicated question. A common time for dogs to engage in zoomy behavior is in the morning, after they’ve been sleeping and/or roaming around the house all night. When they’re outside they can finally release the energy they’ve pent up. Well, right after stretching for safety, of course. The same logic applies to dogs that have been crated; they’ve been cooped up and need to move.

Dogs are also known to do this in situations that are stressful. Anxiousness builds up energy inside lots of animals, including dogs, to get them ready for a penultimate “fight or flight.”. But since dogs are in the care of humans now, anxious situations are usually about baths, being groomed or being in a car, rather than the life-or-death situations they’d encounter in the wild. This means there’s no “fight or flight” decision to be made. The energy is released in neither a battle nor a retreat, so a dog’s natural instinct is to get rid of it in a zoomyzoom, if you will.

If you’re concerned about how safe zoomies are, keep an eye on when and how often your dog is doing it. Is it usually right after a bath or being crated, or only on occasion? Then that’s normal, and you probably don’t need to worry about it. But if they’re doing it for apparently no reason, and/or doing it all the time, you may wanna take a closer look. This could be a sign that they’re not getting enough mental and physical stimulation throughout their day; ensure they’re being played with and aren’t in a crate for long periods of time every day Also keep an eye out to make sure your dog doesn’t seems to be continuously stressed. If you think your dog is engaging in zoomies for reasons that are detrimental to their health, talk to a vet behaviorist and let them see what they notice.

But if your dog is just doing it every now and then, no need to worry. Just sit back, relax, and watch Rover zoom around your yard. Probably more entertaining than whatever’s on TV.

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