Why Does My Dog… Circle Around Before Lying Down?

You might have noticed your dog circling around before finally settling down in a particular spot to rest. Some dogs will just perform a single, cursory circle while others go round and round. What is the reason behind this behavior? While there are several theories, most agree this instinctive behavior goes back to the dog’s wild ancestors.

In the wild, dogs did not have access to the comfy pet beds of today, and had to try to create a safe and cozy “nest” outside. The dog’s circling helped to flatten the grass, dirt or snow, leaves and vegetation to make a more comfortable place to bed down. The resulting depression helped protect the dog from wind and would retain the dog’s body heat. Additionally, the circling behavior may have been a way for the dog to check for hidden dangers such as snakes, insects or other small predators.

While it may seem a bit silly when you see your domesticated dog circle around and around on a sofa or dog bed before lying down, just think of it as your dog’s way of making the bed.

About author

Abby Rosenberg

Abby Rosenberg is a PetMeds employee and long-time cat lover. She was a volunteer for several years at a local no-kill cats only rescue shelter. This has prepared her for her most challenging role to date: secretary, photographer, social coordinator and treat dispenser for Daisy, and Daisy’s sidekick Harley. Daisy is a dilute calico Devon Rex cat, and Harley is a “cow-cat” who was adopted from the shelter where Abby volunteered. You can also find Abby on Google+

There are 2 comments

  • Judith says:

    My two Pom’s will scratch and scrape a spot for a while before laying down…They look like there digging for bones, sometimes they will do it, and then not lay there but move to another spot..LOL when company is here and my Pom’s do it, people always ask me what are they doing? I never really had a answer, is it similar to the circling?

  • Ellen says:

    mine does it on the marble floor! LOL

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