Why Do Dogs Circle Before They Lay Down?

Before going to sleep, we often see our dogs circle before laying down. This instinctive behavior comes from their ancestors and continues to be part of their daily routine. But why do dogs spin in circles before lying down? Does it help them in some way?

In this Animal-wised article, we are going to explain why dogs circle before laying down, the origin of this behavior and how to know when it becomes excessive. If you’re curious in learning more, keep reading as we tackle these subjects.

Why do dogs circle before lying down?

It’s not bizarre to see your dog circle before lying down, but where does this habit come from Animal specialists believe it’s an innate behavior, carried down by their ancestors. This is because when gray wolves or wild dogs had to sleep, they would have to create their own bed to sleep in. To do this, they would pat down tall grass in order to drive away any lurking vermin, such as snakes or insects. This would also help them create a comfortable bed for themselves and their pups. In extreme heat, they would also dig up cool soil to sleep in and when it was very cold, they would dig up a deeper hole to sleep in and retain their body heat.

Animal specialists suggest that another reason dog’s ancestors would circle before lying down was to find the best position to lay down. They had to be very careful as they were most vulnerable to attacks when sleeping or resting. Some experts believe that this would be in relation to the direction of the wind and how that can help their sense of smell.

Other experts say that by spinning before they lay down to sleep, dogs leave their scent on their “bed” so that others know it is taken. Nevertheless, we can understand that dogs circle before laying down as an evolutionary behavior passed down by their ancestors. It is mainly for comfort, security and survival.

However, many of us wonder why they continue to do this if they have soft pillow beds in a safe home. Studies show that the majority of dogs tend to circle before laying down on an uneven surface. This suggests that although dogs have a comfortable bed or couch in a safe home, they may spin to pat the surface down and to make it even. Another reason that dogs continue to display this behavior is simply because evolutionary behaviors tend to have a strong influence in future generations.

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