If your German Shepherd has been running in circles, you are probably wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons why your German Shepherd runs in circles and what you can do about it.
So, why does my German Shepherd run in circles? The most common reason is to release excess energy. It could also be showing excitement, not getting enough exercise, a poor diet or you might have inadvertently been rewarding it.
Generally, running around in circles is not unusual behavior unless it does it compulsively. There are actually a number of reasons that your German Shepherd might be doing it and there are a number of things that you can do about it.
Why your German Shepherd runs in circles
Each of the different reasons that your German Shepherd runs in circles will likely come with a number of clues in the way that it does it.
Below, I will mention a number of reasons that your German Shepherd might be doing it and the signs to look for.
The most likely reason that your German Shepherd runs around in circles is that it is doing it to release excess energy.
This would be more likely if it runs around in circles in a way that releases a lot of energy such as by running around the yard known as “zoomies.”
It would also be more likely if it does it when it has been sedentary for a while such as in the morning.
Not enough exercise
Running around in circles could be a sign that it is not getting enough exercise.
German Shepherds are a breed that are meant to be very active. If they do not get a lot of exercise then it can lead to behavioral issues and to them doing “zoomies” or running around in circles.
Generally, it is recommended that a German Shepherd get at least an hour of exercise per day. If your German Shepherd is not getting that much exercise then it would be a good start to make sure that it does. You can do so by walking it for an hour, teaching it to play fetch or you could have a dog walker take it out for you.
Related post: Ways to exercise your German Shepherd.
Running around in circles could also be a sign that it is not getting the right diet. This would be more likely if it started doing it when you changed its diet and if it started to act differently in other ways as well.
You can look here to see what you should and should not be feeding your German Shepherd.
If you are unsure of what food to get for your German Shepherd, consider getting dog food designed specifically for German Shepherds. You can get a GSD specific dog food on Amazon here and one for GSD puppies on Chewy here.
Releasing nervous energy
The reason that it does it could be that it is releasing nervous energy. This would be more likely if it does it right after something that might cause it to be nervous goes away.
For example, if it does it right after you had guests over and it had to be well behaved then it might be doing it to release nervous energy.
Related post: Why is my German Shepherd afraid?
The reason that it does it could be that it is trying to show that it is excited. This would be more likely if it does it when you are about to take it for a walk or when you come home.
You have been inadvertently rewarding it
The reason that it runs in circles could be that you have been inadvertently rewarding the behavior.
This would be more likely if your method to get it to stop doing it is to give it something that it wants such as a toy, or more attention. In this case, it will have learned that running in circles gets it things that it likes so it does it more.
Consider how much it does it
It would help to consider how often your German Shepherd runs around in circles and if it often does other things such as chase its tail or shadows.
If it does those things multiple times per day then it would be compulsive behavior and something that you might want to get expert help with.
However, if it only runs around in circles occasionally then it would be more likely to be normal behavior.
Consider when it started
It would also help to consider when your German Shepherd first started to run around in circles.
If it started doing it suddenly and it didn’t use to do it a lot then it would help to consider what else happened at around the same time that it started running around in circles.
Some things to consider would be:
- If it started getting less exercise
- If you started working longer hours
- If you moved home
- If its diet changed
Consider when and where it happens
It would also help to consider the timing of when it runs in circles.
If it only seems to do it at specific times then it would likely tell you a lot about why it does it.
For example, if it only seems to do it in the morning then it would be likely that it is trying to release some excess energy.
What can you do about it
Below, I will mention a few things that you can do to get your German Shepherd to stop running around in circles so much if you want to.
Give it lots of exercise
As mentioned above, it is important to make sure that your German Shepherd is able to get lots of exercise.
If it does not currently get much exercise then it would help to make sure that it does.
One way to do it would be to just walk it for an hour per day. You might find that even this won’t be enough for it so you might want to do things such as to walk at a faster pace or to walk in a hilly area.
You could also teach it to play fetch. I have written about how you can do so, in the past, here. Fetch is good because it will allow you to be able to get your German Shepherd to wear itself out quickly.
Avoid reinforcing the behavior
It could be the case that you have encouraged it to behave that way by giving it things it wants when it does it. The problem with doing this is that it teaches it that misbehaving will get it what it wants.
If you do not want your German Shepherd to run around in circles then it would help to avoid giving it things that it likes when it does and to give it more exercise yourself.
Let it do it if it is not compulsive
It is not unusual for dogs to run around in circles especially when they have been inactive for a while. Unless your German Shepherd is doing it constantly then it is unlikely to be something to be concerned with and it would be ok to let it do it.
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