If you catch your dog spinning in a circle, you might not think anything of it and laugh at his silliness. What you don't know is that his behavior might be an expression of anxiety and stress and can be a beginning sign of a compulsive disorder. If ignored, his spinning might worsen and become harder to stop. To avoid this, correct the behavior as soon as you notice it. Your quick action can stop the compulsive disorder from affecting your pet companion's health and quality of life.
Take your dog to a veterinarian to have him examined to rule out medical conditions that might trigger the spinning behavior. Once diagnosed, a veterinarian can prescribe medication to help reduce your dog's stress and anxiety so he has fewer compulsive outbursts.
Watch your dog like a hawk and when he starts circling, immediately shake a can with coins. The loud noise will stop him in his tracks. Show him a chew toy; if he shows interest in the toy, praise him lavishly to reinforce the good behavior. Alternatively, say "sit," and give your pet companion a hug and treat when he obeys. Do this each time you catch him spinning.
Treat your dog to daily workout sessions, because exercise has a relaxing and calming effect on your dog so he's less likely to start spinning. Reserve at least 30 minutes per day for your dog's exercise. Let him run and swim so he can burn energy that he would otherwise use to spin. Get in on the fun -- play a game of tug-of-war or fetch with your dog.
Provide your dog with plenty of entertainment so he doesn't get bored and start spinning. Stimulate him with obedience-training sessions, various chew toys and food-stuffed dog toys. Avoid games in which your pet companion has to chase the light of a laser pointer or flashlight, because these might reinforce his spinning.
Minimize the amount of time you confine your dog to a small space, because sometimes spinning is triggered by lengthy confinement.