Why does a dog go round and round before it lies down?

Dogs are what we call man’s best friend. There are several dogs breeds all around the globe, and finding one is not rare. In some places, dogs simply wander along the streets. Furthermore, most of the time, dogs are in the loving hands of humans. We often keep them as pets, guard dogs, and sometimes as trained units for specific tasks like detecting a bomb – or even recognizing illness.

With all these factors, we can say that dogs are pretty interesting animals. We can see them as smart, affectionate, and energetic, unlike cats, which is what we consider as the opposite of dogs.

There are also several traits and behaviors of dogs that may catch our interest. Despite its intelligence, we have been around with dogs for years, and we often encounter dogs with various personalities. However, there is one behavior of dogs that left scientists baffled for years. Moreover, we might ask the same question upon observing one – why do dogs go around in circles before lying down?

There are many claims as to why dogs are performing this action. It is typical behavior for dogs, and it originated from countless generations. Upon seeing dogs who do this, we may come to think that they are hardwired and programmed to go around in circles before lying down.

Interestingly, after various studies, there are scientific facts that explain why dogs perform this strange behavior.

What is the purpose of going in circles?

There are various reasons why a dog goes around in circles. The most common reason is that dogs adopted similar behavior from their ancestors. We can trace back this behavior from ancient times when people consider dogs as wild animals. Although we still have wild dogs in our modern world, they are more common as house pets – wherein they are the most natural pet for people. Thus, giving them the title, man’s best friend.

The ancient dogs lived in the wild. Meaning to say, they need to adapt to some aspects in the outside world. Mainly, they will experience extreme weather conditions – unlike the typical pet dogs, which have the luxury of comfort within their home. With this said, the ancient dogs need to adjust to the temperature wherever place they go. One way for dogs to adjust their body temperature is to lie down – although they don’t simply lie down and rest, they need to walk around in circles to create more level and set a softer surface for them to sleep.

For example, in grasslands, when dogs walk around in circles, it changes the appearance of the grass, allowing them to rest more comfortably. The same thing goes when they are in icy terrain; they walk around in circles to create a softer surface in the area.
It is like dogs are creating their nest before they go to sleep. They do their best to prepare their bed so their body would be more comfortable while resting. This behavior is somehow common to other animals, although in different forms. Dogs have their way of setting up their beds, and that is by walking around in circles and stomping the ground.

The modern dogs that we know today, mainly our pets, adopted this uniquely weird habit of the ancient dogs. Wherein we can observe our dogs, and they do the same manner of early wild dogs, which is to walk around in circles before lying down.

Is it always normal for a dog to walk around in circles?

Earlier, we already established that walking around in circles is a habit that dogs adopted from their ancestors. However, it is not all the time normal for dogs to walk around in circles. There are some special cases wherein dogs walk around in circles not to level the surface, but to ease the pain it’s experiencing.

The most common condition that dogs experience is arthritis, which gives them pain in their joints, making it hard for them to lie down, sit, or bend their knees. This condition is often a result of oldness, so if your dog is already in their peak, then try to consider bringing them to the vet and have them checked.

Another unusual reason for dogs to walk around in circles is neurological problems. We can identify this condition as strange when your dog is walking around in circles with its head tilted and sometimes comes along with vomiting. Also, the circular pattern seems to be compulsive, and it is more than enough for the surface to soften – if this is the case, most probably the dog has neurological problems and would need to seek medical attention.

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