Why Do Dogs Run In Circles?
Dog zoomies are periods of frantic activity in which a dog runs around in circles, and seems to be unaware of their surrounds. Zoomies are more common in puppies, but can happen in dogs of any age. They do it without noticing what’s going on around them, what they break, or who they knock over in the process.
When the zoomies happens indoors, it can leave the rest of the family in quite a state. But is this behavior dangerous, beyond the risk to your furniture and ankles? Why do dogs run in circles?
And what can you do to stop them getting so out of control?
Let’s find out what causes the dog zoomies, why dogs do it. Also how you can reduce or manage your dog when they run around like crazy.
Is This the Dog Zoomies?
- Does your dog suddenly run madly around the house like a wild animal, low to the ground with legs bent?
- Do their eyes look a little crazy?
- Is their butt tucked underneath them?
- Do they appear to have no regard for their own safety or your best china?
If so, you’re probably watching a case of the zoomies dog in action
The word ‘zoomies’ really does sum up this crazy behavior very well.
What Do Dog Zoomies Look Like?
A dog with the zoomies isn’t just clumsy or restless. The behavior is quite distinctive, as is the posture of the dog.
It’s almost a squatting kind of run. Difficult to describe, but you’ll recognize it once you’ve seen it.
You may also see play bows interspersed with the running.
Another feature is the sudden way that they start. A dog with this case will break into a flat out gallop from a standing start.
Sometimes right in the middle of your living room!
There is often very little warning!
Why Does My Dog Run Around Like Crazy?
People often use the word “crazy” to describe the zoomies dogs do.
The dog will be oblivious to any damage, often crashing into tables and knocking chairs flying.
If they are outdoors in your yard, they will often race in a big circle at break neck speed, leaning right over to turn as tight as they can.
And perhaps stopping on occasion to spin around and set off in the opposite direction.
They may well not hear your pleas to “Stop” or “Look Out”.
The zoomies don’t last long. But they can leave a trail of destruction behind them. And for a new dog owner, they can be quite shocking.
- So what exactly is going on here?
- Has a dog with the zoomies got a problem?
- Or is the problem all yours?
- Why do dogs run in circles like this?
Let’s discover what the scientists say.
F-r-a-p Dog Behavior
Of course, biologists have come up with another name, so you’ll also hear zoomies referred to as ‘frapping’
Frapping dog is not an expletive (though you might feel inclined to use one)!
Frap is an abbreviation:
F = frenetic
R = random
A = activity
P = period
And it’s a pretty self explanatory one.
Why Do Dogs Get the Zoomies?
So why do dogs run in circles like this?
We don’t know exactly why some dogs are prone to frapping and other dogs aren’t.
We do know that the frapping dogs do are more common during time periods when a dog is full of energy. In other words They haven’t been exercised for a while, or has been shut in the house for a few hours. Sometimes you’ll see a play-bow before the frapping start!
Some dogs never get the zoomies, no matter how full of energy they are, and others get them frequently. So that isn’t the only explanation.
Some dogs may have a particular trigger or triggers. Such as after grooming, a game or a bath. Though if this is your dog’s only trigger, this may not be a true case of the zoomies.
Why Do Dogs Run Around After a Bath?
If your dog races around after their bath, they might not have the zoomies. They may just be expressing their delight at the bath being over.
Other dogs will zoom around with their head on the ground and their butt in the air after a bath, as they try to rub themselves dry on your carpets.
Again, it isn’t quite the same as the frapping, which involves that distinctive posture I describe above.
And a dog that is just drying themselves will be more responsive to you than a dog frapping.
So how can you tell if your dog is about to get the zoomies? Is it possible to recognize the signs?
Frapping – Dog On the Brink!
Zoomies are most common in dogs that are puppies or quite young, that haven’t had much exercise in the last few hours, and that are starting to get a bit excited, or playful.
Play bows can be a sign.
If your dog has had the zoomies in the past and starts to play bow indoors, there is a good chance you are about to see a case of the zoomies.
While dog frapping is not in anyway linked with aggression, occasionally a young dog will start nipping during frapping behavior.
Dog Zoomies – Biting
If your dog is nipping or biting during an attack of frapping, you need to change the way you manage them.
Avoid physically handling them and stop any game you might have been playing. They need to have a chance to calm down.
If you can open a door and let the dog outside to burn up some energy in your yard, then do so.
Are the Zoomies Harmful to My Dog?
Dog zoomies are not intrinsically harmful. They won’t give your dog a seizure or take them into some kind of permanent emotional melt down.
Despite the clumsiness of dogs that get the zoomies, they don’t usually hurt themselves in any significant way, especially outdoors.
The zoomies is also not usually a sign that they are sick.
If your dog has had the puppy zoomies on a regular basis since they joined your family, this is just ‘normal for them’. It’s how they let off their extra energy. You don’t need to worry. Except about your good china!
However, if a previously very calm dog suddenly starts to run in circles on a regular basis, consider having a chat with your vet. Especially if nothing has altered in the family routine that could have caused them to have some extra energy to let off.
This change in behaviour could possibly be a sign of another problem.
Are the Dog Zoomies Dangerous?
As we’ve seen above, zooming dogs are not usually a danger to themselves. But do be extra careful if you have a dog at higher than usual risk of injury.
If your zoomie-prone dog has had stitches for any reason, for example, you might want to avoid any known triggers for their zoomies.
And to consider how to safely give them enough exercise, to reduce their pent up energy.
Dogs with the zoomies don’t usually crash into each other.
But if you have a second dog in the house who is frail, elderly, injured or sick, you may want to protect them from a zoomie-inclined companion.
For example, escort them to safety when the zoomies begin!
And equally, a dog with the zoomies could knock down a toddler or an elderly or unsteady adult. This isn’t common, but it is something for owners of high energy dogs to be aware of.
What To Do When Your Dog Gets the Zoomies
Don’t be tempted to chase your dog when they get the zoomies, indoor or out. Chasing them is likely to excite them even further.
Move them outdoors if at all possible
You can have a lot of success with simply opening the back door and waving the dog outside the instant the zoomies begin. (As long as you have a fenced-in yard or you know they won’t get away.)
If the zoomies dogs are a big problem for you, think about what might have triggered them so that you can work on preventing or reducing them in the future.
How to Prevent Dog Zoomies
Because dog zoomies is normal behavior you don’t need to do anything. You can help your dog learn to express this behavior in your yard, rather than around your coffee table.
But, you may find that offering your dog more ways to dispel their energy helps to reduce frapping episodes, or even stop them from doing it altogether
Exercise will help to prevent the zoomies. Dogs won’t normally zoom when they are physically tired.
Mental stimulation helps too. Dogs may be more prone to the zoomies when they are bored. A couple of training sessions each day will help to exercise your dog’s mind
Most dogs are more likely to have the zoomies when they are already in a playful of excited state. So learning how to calm a puppy or an older dog will help you.
Dog Zoomies – Summary
A dog with the zoomies is not going mad. Nor are they bad or dangerous.
Apart from the risk of tripping over something or smashing up the furniture, the zoomies isn’t harmful for dogs.
Frapping or zoomies is a normal dog behavior but if it’s causing you a problem, there are steps you can take to reduce it. Increases in exercise and training are the most effective solutions.
Dogs can be taught that zooming is only appropriate outdoors. And if you are alert to your dog’s triggers, you can anticipate most cases of the dog zoomies and move them into your yard.
Frankie’s and Chloe’s Way of Zoomies
Little pug Frankie would always get excited when playing and would tuck his little butt and start running at full speed up and down the hallway. I could never get a picture because he was always a blur! After his episode of zoomies, he would then blow all his snot out his nose!
When Chloe was younger, she would get the zoomies and go flying up and down our stairs! I do not recommend having your dog do this because Chloe tore both her CCL joints (knee joints like ACL in people). That was an expensive surgery!
Now she just does zoomies outside (usually after a poo! LOL) and when we are getting ready for a walk.