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.