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13 Reasons Why Your Dog Walks in Circles Around You + Tips

Why Does My Dog Walk In Circles Around Me

Your dog walks in circles. Around you and other people.

All’s fun and games until someone trips on them. 


In this article, you’ll discover:

  • 11 tips on how to stop this habit. 
  • How circling is related to herding.
  • 13 surprising reasons why your dog circles around you.
  • And much more…

Why does my dog walk in circles around me?

Your dog walks in circles around you for reasons such as trying to herd you, experiencing dementia and discomforts, chasing their tail, nesting, not knowing where to go, feeling bored and anxious, being confined for too long, seeking attention, eliminating stool, or having a favorite person. 

People also ask:

13 reasons why your dog walks in circles around you

#1: You’re their favorite person

The moment you open the door, you get enclosed inside a dog tornado. 

Your dog walks in circles around you so fast, you can’t help but step or trip on them. 

“Sorry, doggo.”, you say.

But it seems that your pooch doesn’t mind these little accidents. They seem to enjoy seeing you work your way out of the imaginary circle they make. 

Do you wonder why they do this? 

It’s simply because they’re too excited to see you. And by circling around you, they show that they’re happy their favorite person’s back home.

#2: They’re trying to herd you

Your Dog Walks In Circles Around You Due To Its Herding Breed

Have you seen a dog herding sheep? 

They bark and circle around the herd to direct them to the place where they want them to go.

And voila! The sheep incredibly follows where the dogs lead them. 

“Why are you telling me this? I’m not a sheep.”

That’s correct! 

You’re not, but your dog is possibly a herding breed

It’s in their instinct to act on how they were bred. So they may try to herd you from time to time. 

For example, if they want to eat, they’ll lead you to the kitchen. 

Or if they want to go out, they’ll direct you to the door. 

#3: They want to poop

Whenever you go out for walks, you notice an odd behavior your pooch does. 

They sniff the grass, and then they spin around. Weirdly, they also look at you without breaking eye contact.

You know what’ll come next.

“Okay, time to bring out the poop bag!”, you exclaim. 

Dogs circle around before they poop because they want to trample on the grass. One of the reasons they do this is so that the grass won’t disturb them while they’re having their little private moment. 

By doing so, they can also see if there are any threats around. 

#4: It’s nesting time

Your pooch helps make your bed comfortable. 

Whenever you two are preparing to sleep, they walk around in circles on your bed. 

They fluff it and rearrange the blanket to make it seem like a nest. 

What gives?

Your pooch is spinning around you and your bed because they’re nesting. They’re creating a space where they’ll be able to curl up their body comfortably. 

They do this to keep their body warm during cold nights. 

#5: You confine them

Your dog’s like a maniac whenever you let them out of their crate. 

They walk in circles around you and then run around the house. They do this until they have used up all their energy. 

Why’s that? 

Here’s the truth. 

A lot of dog parents don’t like putting their pooches inside crates. However, there are times when they have no other choice but to do it. 

For example, when dogs like to chew on the Internet or TV cables and the dog parents fear they might get electrocuted.

There are some who leave their dogs in a crate when they leave for work. Others put their puppies in it for housetraining, so they don’t soil the house. 

Sadly, there are also a number of dog parents who cage them. And these poor pooches can only go out for walks. 

Sometimes, they aren’t allowed to go out at all.

Whatever their reason may be, dog parents shouldn’t confine their dogs for too long. 

Warning: Dogs can’t be confined in crates for more than half a day. When they get pent-up for more than that, they may develop depression, anxiety, and lack of confidence.

Not only that. 

When they’re inside cages or crates, their space is limited. They can’t move around freely. Therefore when they’re released, they go hyper and frantic.

#6: They want your attention

Your pooch has an unusual way of getting your attention. 

Whenever your dog walks in circles, you know that there’s something amiss. 

“Could they be hungry? Nope, I just fed them. 

Oh, their water bowl is empty!

Here you go.”

Dogs cannot talk. That’s why they communicate with us through their body language. 

There are dogs who bark and whine. While others do certain behaviors such as walking in circles around you.

If this habit is not excessive, then this one is totally fine. 🙂

#7: Chasing their tail

Your Dog Is Chasing His Tail

For some unknown reason, your dog always forgets that they have a tail. 

“What is that furry thing that keeps following me? 

I’ll get you someday. Halp me hooman!”

And so they chase and chase. Not knowing that they’re just going around in circles. 

Silly doggos. 

Your dog does this circling behavior around you because they’re being playful. 

They might have noticed that you enjoyed and laughed watching them do that. So they thought of it as something good to do. 

#8: Something is itchy

You recently noticed that your pooch walks in circles around you. 

It seems that they’re trying to catch their tails. And when they finally do, they chew or bite on it. 

Uh-oh, that looks painful!

If your dog constantly chews on their tail, it’s possible they’re trying to relieve themselves of pain or itch. 

According to PetMD, this chewing habit could be because of the following:

  • Wounds.
  • Allergic reaction. 
  • Fleas and ticks infestation.
  • Intestinal parasites such as tapeworms.

#9: Medical condition

Your beloved pup has developed an unusual habit of walking in circles around you. However, you’re worried because they do it in such an obsessive way. 

“This couldn’t be normal. What could be the reason behind this?”

Dogs may develop the circling behavior because of the following conditions:

Ear infection 

Dogs who have inner ear infections experience a loss in their balance leading to walking in circles.

Vestibular syndrome

This is another dysfunction of your dog’s inner ear. Other symptoms of this are head tilting and falling, and loss of balance. 

Neurological disease

Diseases such as distemper or neosporosis can cause a lack of body coordination in dogs causing them to walk in circles.

Liver disease

The toxins produced by liver disease build up and affect your dog’s brain. This causes your pooch to develop unusual behaviors. 

Warning: If your dog excessively walks around in circles and you suspect it’s because of the things mentioned above, have them checked by a veterinarian immediately. 

#10: Doggy dementia

The first time your dog walked in circles, it didn’t surprise you. You’ve thought of it as just their play or maybe something was itchy on their back.

But as they grew older, they seemed to do this habit all the time. 

What’s more surprising is now, they circle in a counter-clockwise position. 

Since your pooch is getting older, a possible reason for this behavior is doggy dementia (also known as Canine Cognitive Dysfunction)

This condition makes them lose their sense of direction and understanding of things. 

They may bump on furniture, wander around the house, or walk around in circles. 

#11: They have separation anxiety

You’re worried about your pooch at home when you leave them for work. That’s why you installed a CCTV.

Whenever you have free time, you watch their live stream. You wonder what they could be doing at the moment. 

Surprisingly, they aren’t causing chaos. 

Good doggo!

They’re just walking around in circles. Non-stop. 

Oh no! This couldn’t be good. 

Walking in circles around their dog parents is normal for some dogs. It could be because of excitement or they miss them.

What’s not normal is when they’re doing it even when you’re not there. 

It’s a red flag for something serious such as separation anxiety. This causes them to do compulsive behaviors repeatedly.

#12: They don’t know where to go

You love going on walks with your dog. But sometimes, it can be a real pain in the ass whenever the two of you go out. 


The moment you open the door, not only does your pooch get a burst of energy, but they also run or walk in circles. 

It has come to a point where their leash wraps around you and causes you to trip and fall on your butt.


So why does this keep on happening? 

It could be because your dog is too excited that they don’t know where to explore first. There are so many scents and everything overwhelms them.

Another reason for this is they’re not trained yet on how to walk properly. 

#13: Something isn’t right

Your pooch is naturally intuitive. They can sense things humans can’t. 

So if they constantly walk in circles around you, it’s possible that they’re frightened or unsettled because of something that is bothering them.

There could be a stranger in your home that they’re wary about. 

Or they’re in a new environment, and they’re unsure and not used to it yet. 

In these situations, you must also keep your guard up because dogs are really good at their sensing abilities.

11 tips on what to do if your dog walks in circles around you

#1: Let them enjoy their walks

A dog walking in circles when they’re outdoors is a normal thing for them to do. 

They want to inspect everything around them. 

Every nook and cranny. High and low.

So when this happens, let them take in all the scents. Allow them to sniff every corner. 

By letting them do what they want and giving them enough time to do it, they won’t be frantic every time you two go out. 

This conditions them that their time outdoors is not limited. And they don’t need to explore many things all at once. 

#2: Correct them before they begin

Your dog is from a herding breed. They walk in circles around you, especially strangers.

Observe your pooch. What is the first thing they do before they try to ‘herd’ you or other people? 

Do they sniff a person’s hand first or nudge them a bit?

By knowing the first signs of herding, you’ll be able to stop your dog before they begin their circling habit.

Use the ‘Stop’ command on them when they start doing it. And once they stop, redirect their attention elsewhere. 

#3: Don’t reinforce it

Your dog walking around in circles around you or other children can be entertaining. 

However, if you show your dog that you see this habit as something fun, they’ll think of it as a playful activity.

If you want them to stop this habit, you must not reinforce it on them. 

What you can do instead is ignore them or avoid laughing when they’re herding you.

#4: Get a professional’s help

If you’re worried that your dog’s unusual habit is because of medical conditions, it’s best to take them to a vet for a full body check-up.

This way, the vet can detect exactly why your pooch behaves this way. 

But if this habit is caused by behavioral problems such as not knowing how to walk properly or a way of seeking attention, you can ask for a dog behaviorist’s advice. 

Proper training can lessen your pooch’s habit.

#5: Tire them out

You’ve ruled out that your dog doesn’t do this habit because they’re sick. They’re simply bored. 

So to resolve this, you need to tire them out. 

Understand that dogs are very active creatures. Let them run around and play. Take them with you on outdoor activities. 

These exercises are good for you and your dog’s physical and mental state. 

And when they have used up all their energy, there won’t be any juice left for them to waste walking around in circles. 

#6: Teach them other ways to ask for something

Your pooch’s way to get your attention is by walking in circles. 

It’s a pretty harmless way to ask for something, but you can’t help but be worried every time they do this. 

Are they sick? Is there something wrong with them?

So in order to change this behavior, you need to teach them another way to get what they want. 

For example, if they want to go out for a poo, they can ring a bell located at the door. 

Or if they’re hungry, they can ring a bell inside the kitchen. 

#7: Refrain from putting them in crates 

To lessen your dog’s sudden burst of energy episodes and their constant walking in circles around you, you must lessen the time they’re inside their crates. 

By doing this, they won’t be exhilarated every time they’re released. 

And if you refrain from confining them, they’ll get to spend their energy doing other things they enjoy. 

For example helping you with chores and playing in the yard.  

Note: If you really have to crate your pooch for longer periods of time, make their crate comfortable for them by putting their favorite blanket with them and making sure they have enough space to move inside.

#8: Use a shorter leash

When you and your dog are on walks, one way to lessen their circling around you is by using a shorter leash. 

With this, you will be more in control of the direction your pooch goes. 

And they won’t be able to wrap it around your body while walking.

#9: Keep them safe

Dogs who have dementia develop unusual habits. In this case, it’s constant pacing and walking in circles. 

You cannot control your pooch’s age. And you can’t slow down their aging process. 

What you can do instead is guide them and support them through that part of their journey. 

Make sure that they’re comfortable. 

Keep them from things that can fall over them in case they knock on something while they’re walking around.  

#10: Visit a dog’s groomer

Your pooch’s habit is caused by the constant itch they’re trying to scratch on their tail and back. 

It’s possible that it’s because they have skin infections or flea and tick infestation. 

What you need to do is take them to your trusted dog groomer. 

They can provide your pooch with shampoos and soaps that will help cure their skin infections. As well as get rid of the nasty little bugs on them. 

Oh, and don’t forget to clean your pooch’s bed and toys as well. 

Who knows? There could be fleas in there as well. 


#11: Don’t forget their ears

As mentioned earlier, inner ear infections can cause your dog’s walking in circle behavior. 

So in order to limit this, you must regularly check and clean your dog’s ears. This will prevent them from having infections. Or having fleas live inside them.