How to Stop a Dog From Running in Circles

Stopping your dog's spinning improves his quality of life.
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When you catch Fido chasing his tail and spinning in a circle, you might laugh or cheer him on, thinking he's clowning around. What you don't know is that you're encouraging his behavior, and over time, it can become a problem. Running in circles can become a hard-to-break obsession or compulsive disorder. Ultimately, your dog might start biting his tail and injuring himself or spinning so much he forgets to eat and gets exhausted. To avoid this, find out what's triggering Fido's behavior and take steps to correct it as soon as possible.

Consult a veterinarian to help determine what's triggering your dog's spinning. A veterinarian can examine your dog, rule out medical conditions and injures, and prescribe anti-anxiety medication to make it easier to correct the circling behavior. Provide the veterinarian with as much information about your dog's behavior as you can. It's helpful to keep track of when your dog starts circling and how often he does it. Videotape your dog while he's running in circles to provide a visual.

Stimulate your dog daily with physical and mental exercise, because a lack of exercise might leave him bored and craving attention, which can trigger his spinning behavior. Take walks with your dog and allow him to run or swim so he can burn energy and tire himself out. Play games with your pet companion, such as fetch and tug-of-war. Give him toys, such as chew toys and food-stuffed dog toys, and schedule daily obedience training.

Watch your dog closely so you can catch him in the act. The moment your furry friend starts spinning, clap your hands to interrupt him. When he looks at you, show him a dog toy or challenge him to a game of fetch to redirect his attention. When he shows interest, give him praise and a dog treat to reinforce his good behavior.

Prioritize obedience training so you can control your dog. Teach him commands, such as "sit," "down" and "stay." When your pet companion starts his tornado-like behavior, interrupt him and order him to sit or lie down and stay. When he does, always praise or give treats to teach him the desired behavior.

Ignore your furry friend if you believe he's spinning to get your attention. In the past, your dog might have gotten praised for spinning. He might try to get the same reaction from you. Ignoring him will teach him that his spinning isn't effective. Ensure all family members ignore your dog's spinning behavior.

Minimize the amount of time you confine your dog in a crate or kennel. Your furry friend's circling might be triggered by confinement in a small space, which restricts his movement.


  • Never yell at your pet companion or punish him for running in circles -- he'll perceive it as attention and will continue the behavior.


  • Never yell at your pet companion or punish him for running in circles -- he'll perceive it as attention and will continue the behavior.

Items You Will Need

  • Dog toys
  • Dog treats