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Why Does My Dog Go Round and Round Before Lying Down?

Written by Adaptil, published on 12 May 2022

Have you ever wondered why your dog circles before settling down to sleep?

Many centuries ago, dogs are expected to have circled before lying down as a survival tactic and to get the grass flat and soft around them to create a resting place to curl up and get warm for a cosy nap. Therefore, this is a normal natural behaviour that may have been passed down genetically through generations. Although, this behaviour is potentially not needed as much, it is still witnessed by many pet pawrents. 

For a Cosy Resting Place

The likelihood of dogs circling to flatten the grass for a peaceful rest is high, as when studied, the results showed that dogs were significantly more likely to circle before lying down on an uneven space, like a shaggy carpet. Linking to flattening down the surface textures to create that perfect ‘'nest’. 

dog asleep in bed

A Bedtime Routine

It may be a way a dog prepares, get snug and restful. Circling before a snooze might be your dog’s version of a get ready for bed routine in an attempt to get as comfortable as possible before they rest. Maybe that is why it has continued as a deep routed instinct that can still be seen today. Read more from a pooch's point of view: why do dogs dig in their beds and circle?

Keeping Warm

Circling is also seen in social groups, so it could be an expression of safety and the fact they feel secure. Being seen more in social groups may also support the idea dogs circle before laying down to preserve body heat and keep warm by curling up in a ball or curling up together as a group. 

ADAPTIL Back To Nature

Take a look at ADAPTIL's Back to Nature short documentary video: An ode to dog origins, friendship and challenges of modern life. Dogs deserve our support to cope with our modern environment.

ADAPTIL Back to nature movie


If you are concerned by the amount your dog is circling or their behaviour, or your dog seems uncomfortable then please contact your vet for a check-up or contact a qualified clinical animal behaviourist (CAB), take a look at Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC) or Fellowship of Animal Behaviour Clinicians (FABC) list for more information or help. 


Adaptil Calm Diffuser

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