Why Does My Dog Walk in Circles Around Me? (9 Common Reasons)

Categorized as Why Does My Dog
dogs walking in circles around small girl

When you come home from a long day at work, your dog is there to greet you with a wagging tail and a happy face. But as soon as you sit down on the couch, your dog starts walking in circles around you. What’s going on?

Maybe it’s because you’re the most interesting thing on the planet to them, or maybe they’re just trying to get your attention. But whatever the reason, it’s certainly entertaining to watch.

Here are 9 of the most common reasons why dogs walk in circles around their owners:

1. Your Dog Has a Natural Instinct to Patrol and Circle Their Territory

Dogs in the wild have an instinctual need to patrol and circle their territory in order to protect their pack. They would look for any signs of danger or intruders and sound the alarm if necessary.

Even though your dog is now domesticated and doesn’t live in the wild, your dog may still have this instinctual need to circle you. They might see it as their job to protect you from any potential threats.

This instinct is especially more common in dogs that come from a herding breed, such as a German shepherd or a Rottweiler. Since they were bred to herd and protect livestock, they have this innate desire to keep an eye on everything that’s going on around them.

2. Maybe They Want Your Attention

Dogs are very social animals and they love spending time with their owners. When your dog starts walking in circles around you, they might be trying to get your attention. They want to be acknowledged and loved by you.

Remember, giving your dog plenty of attention and love is part of being a responsible pet owner. So make sure you take the time to pet your dog and play with them every day.

3. They Might be Trying to Tell You Something

Dogs are very intelligent animals and they can communicate with us through their body language. When your dog starts walking in circles around you, they might be trying to tell you something.

If your dog is circling you and whining, it could mean that they’re feeling anxious or scared. If your dog is circling you and wagging their tail, it could mean that they’re happy and excited.

Pay attention to your dog’s body language and take note of any changes in behavior so you can address them accordingly.

4. They Might be Anxious Over Something and Walking in Circles Helps to Calm Them Down

Dogs can get anxious over a lot of things, such as loud noises, unfamiliar environments, and even other people and animals. When your dog starts walking in circles around you, they might be trying to calm themselves down.

Walking in circles is not the only sign of anxiety, but it’s one of the most common ones. If your dog is exhibiting other signs of anxiety, such as panting, whining, or drooling, then you should find the source of their anxiety and remove them from the situation.

5. They Might be Trying to Take Control of the Situation

Dogs are pack animals and in the wild, the alpha dog is the one who is in charge. When your dog starts walking in circles around you, they might be trying to dominate you and become the alpha dog.

In some cases, this can lead to behavioral problems such as dominant aggression if you let it go unchecked. Make sure you establish yourself as the alpha dog in your household and show your dog who’s boss.

6. Your Dog Might Be Bored and Looking for Something to Do

Dogs need a lot of stimulation and if they’re not getting enough, they might start walking in circles around you as a way to keep themselves entertained.

Dogs that are bored often become destructive and can start barking and chewing on things. Make sure you provide your dog with plenty of toys and activities to keep them occupied.

7. Could It Be a Sign of Compulsive Behavior?

In some cases, dogs might start walking in circles around you as a sign of compulsive behavior or better known as Canine Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

This is a mental disorder that is similar to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in humans.

Dogs with OCD will often perform the same behaviors over and over again, such as walking in circles, licking their paws, and chasing their tails.

The symptoms of CCD can vary from dog to dog. Some dogs might only have one or two compulsive behaviors, while others may exhibit all of them.

If you think your dog might be suffering from OCD, you should take them to the veterinarian for a check-up. There might be a medical condition causing your dog’s compulsive behavior and it’s important to get it treated.

8. Your Dog Is Just Full of Energy and Needs to Burn It Off

Working dogs, such as police dogs and service dogs, need a lot of exercises to stay healthy and happy. If your dog isn’t getting enough exercise, they might start doing all sorts of things to burn off energy, such as walking in circles.

Dogs that are full of energy can be a lot of trouble. They’ll often display a wide range of behavioral problems such as chewing on things, whining, and barking.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you give your dog plenty of exercises. A good workout will help to tire them out and keep them calm.

9. Your Dog Might Have an Underlying Medical Condition That’s Causing Them to Walk in Circles

Although it might seem like a behavioral problem, there could be an underlying medical condition causing your dog to walk in circles around you.

Some of the most common medical conditions that can cause this type of behavior are:

Vestibular Disease

Vestibular Disease is a condition that affects a dog’s balance and coordination. The most common cause of the vestibular disease is a head injury, but it can also be caused by a number of other things, such as:

  • an ear infection
  • perforated eardrum
  • hypothyroidism
  • trauma
  • tumors

If your dog displays any of the following signs of vestibular disease, you should take them to the veterinarian for a check-up:

  • walking in circles
  • tilting their head to one side
  • nystagmus (uncontrolled eye movement)
  • head tilt
  • loss of balance
  • falling over
  • vomiting


Neosporosis is a parasitic infection that can affect dogs, cats, and other animals. The most common way for a dog to become infected with Neosporosis is by eating raw meats and feces of infected animals.

Some dogs with neosporosis can be carriers of the disease without showing any signs of illness but most have some sort of clinical signs. If the infestation is severe, damage can occur to the dog’s nervous system, which can cause them to display a wide range of neurological signs, such as:

  • walking in circles
  • confusion
  • weak muscles
  • trembling or shaking
  • paralysis of the legs
  • muscle inflammation

Canine Distemper

Canine Distemper is a highly contagious virus that can affect dogs of all ages. The virus usually starts off with a respiratory infection and can eventually attack a dog’s nervous system, causing a wide range of complications, such as:

  • paralysis
  • muscle twitches
  • seizures
  • walking in circles
  • diarrhea
  • aggression
  • lethargy
  • excessive thirst

The disease is transmitted via respiratory secretions, so if you have more than one dog, and one of them is showing any of the signs of distemper, you should take the necessary precautions to prevent the other dogs from becoming infected such as isolating the sick dog and cleaning and disinfecting everything they come in contact with.

When Should You Be Concerned?

Although walking in circles is a common behavior in dogs, there are some occasions when you should be concerned.

If your dog is walking in circles for no apparent reason, is doing it more frequently, or is exhibiting any other abnormal behaviors, you should start figuring out the cause and take them to the veterinarian for a check-up.

Dogs can’t tell us what’s wrong with them, so it’s important to be aware of their behavior and look out for any changes. Early detection of a problem can often lead to quicker and more successful treatment.

If you’re ever in doubt, always consult your veterinarian – they will be more than happy to help you figure out what’s going on with your dog.

5 Tips to Help Stop Your Dog from Walking in Circles

Here are a few things you can do to help stop your dog from walking in circles

1. Make Sure Your Dog Gets Enough Stimulation

One of the most common reasons dogs walk in circles is because they’re bored. Dogs need plenty of exercise and stimulation to keep them from getting into mischief.

The following are some activities you can do with your dog to keep them mentally and physically stimulated:

  • going on a walk
  • playing fetch
  • taking them to the dog park
  • playing tug of war
  • training obedience commands
  • teaching them tricks
  • cycling

2. Find The Source of their Anxiety and Address It

Dogs can walk in circles as a way to cope with stress or anxiety. If you think this might be the case for your dog, you should try to find the source of their anxiety and address it.

Some common causes of anxiety in dogs include:

  • fear of loud noises
  • fear of strangers
  • fear of other animals
  • separation anxiety

3. Make Sure They’re In Good Health

A number of health problems can cause a dog to walk in circles, so it’s important to make sure they’re in good health.

As mentioned earlier, there are several medical conditions that can cause this behavior. If you suspect your dog might be sick, you shouldn’t wait to take them to the veterinarian.

4. Train Them The Stay Command

Another way to help stop your dog from walking in circles is to train them to follow a command.

One of the easiest commands to teach is “stay.” Once your dog has learned this command, you can use it to keep them from wandering off or walking in circles.

5. Train Them with Clicker Training

If you’re having trouble training your dog using traditional methods, you might want to try training them with a clicker.

Clicker training is a positive reinforcement training method that uses a noise (usually a click) to mark the desired behavior. Once your dog has learned what the click means, you can use it as a cue for them to do the desired behavior.


Dogs walk in circles around their owners for many different reasons, some of which are quite harmless. However, it’s important to be aware of why your dog is doing this and take steps to correct the behavior if necessary.

If you’re concerned about your dog’s health or behavior, be sure to ask your veterinarian or dog trainer for advice. Thanks for reading!

Related Questions

1. Why Does My Dog Walk Behind Me?

There are a few reasons why your dog may walk behind you. One reason is that they are being submissive. Walking behind you gives them a clear view of your back, which shows that they know you are the leader of the pack.

Another reason is that they want to sniff everything! Walking behind you allows them to take in all the sights and smells around them without missing a thing.

Finally, it could simply be out of habit. If you always walk in front of your dog, they will learn to follow your lead.

2. Why Does My Dog Walk So Slowly?

There are a few reasons why my dog walks so slowly. First, they want to smell everything!

They’ll take their time sniffing around bushes and trees, taking in all the sights and smells. Second, they may have Hereditary Skeletal Diseases which can cause them pain and make it difficult to move quickly.

Finally, they may be nervous or scared, which can also lead to a slower pace.

3. Why Does My Dog Walk and Poop At The Same Time?

There are a few reasons why your dog might walk and poop at the same time. For one, they may be trying to spread their scent around as much as possible. This is especially true if they’ve just been outside and picked up a lot of new smells.

Additionally, diarrhea can also cause your dog to need to poop more frequently.

If your dog is eating the wrong diet, this can also lead to more frequent bowel movements.

4. Why Does My Dog Walk While Peeing?

This peculiar habit could be due to a number of reasons. For instance, smaller breeds of dogs tend to have small bladders, which could lead them to believe that they need to hurry up and finish their business.

Additionally, excitement or fear may cause a dog to start walking while they are still urinating.

Dogs who suffer from frequent urinary tract infections may also walk in an attempt to relieve the pressure on their bladders.

Whatever the reason for this quirky behavior, it is important to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health problems.