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Chianne

Running in circles

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I have a 16 week old pup that always, at any chance he gets, runs huge circles when I let him out. The total ground he covers is about 100 yards. He runs like the wind when he does this but always comes back to me, even if I don't call him. He does this at least a dozen times a day. he always runs counter clockwise. It's really his favorite thing to do. My yard is not fenced and he is never out alone. he did the same thing at my friends home in his yard. Every time he was let out he would run in as big of a circle as his fenced yard allowed.

 

I kid and tell people he practicing his outrun. In jest of course.

 

This behavior puzzles me. Anyone know why he does this or is just a quirky behavior?

 

is a link of a video I took of it to show the distance he covers when he does this.

 

Here is another video of how much he does it on my FB page.

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he always runs counter clockwise.

 

Just like people are right or left handed most dogs have a side they favour to a greater or lesser degree.

 

If you can counter his tendency to run in the same direction by working more on activities involving the other direction you should end up with a dog that is more physically balanced.

 

Racing greyhounds always run in the same direction and injuries/deterioration on the turning side are very common.

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Just like people are right or left handed most dogs have a side they favour to a greater or lesser degree.

 

If you can counter his tendency to run in the same direction by working more on activities involving the other direction you should end up with a dog that is more physically balanced.

 

Racing greyhounds always run in the same direction and injuries/deterioration on the turning side are very common.

 

This is good advice.

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Yeah, the Zoomies - normal, youthful exhuberance, I think. Emmie, even at 2 years old, does it all the time if she's been couped up. Come to think of it, she always does go the same direction...

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I must join the crowd: collie zoomies :) . Mine do it when they haven't seen me for a long time e.g. a couple of hours :)

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Jinx does the exact same thing. He was on crate rest for a day and a half with very limited physical active and when I let him loose yesterday he would run circles then come back to me bouncing and growling wanting to play and then woul run more circles. But he goes both ways

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My pup Loki did that as a youngster and still does as an adult although he runs straight. When we hit the trail Loki always runs straight about 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile and then spins and races back to me. He checks in and then repeats. After a couple laps he settles into wrestling/racing with other dogs as we walk down the trail. Later he and the other dogs will stalk each other and run more laps. Loki has a lot of energy and loves to run! That being said, when he's at home he's a complete couch potato. :) It's completely normal. Some dogs simply love to run while others (aka Rose) like to go at a slow pace.

 

Bethany, Rose, & Loki

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However, if you have a dog who tends toward OCD behavior, circling uninhibited can end up being a compulsive behavior. Not trying to rain on any parades, but if I have let a dog out and it's doing zoomies, that's one thing, but if the dog appears to want to circle to the exclusion of other things, then the circling needs to have a stop put to it.

 

J.

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Julie, No offence I'm glad it was you who rained on this parade first, cause I was about to. He looks an awful lot like my Xena, a 5 yr old farm bred BC who has ocd tendencies. She has literally run pathways thru our garden. will see if I can catch some video of it sometime.

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I doubt the behavior is OCD, but could be wrong. He loves to run. It's not difficult to distract him from this behavior by calling or playing with him. He doesn't show any other signs of being OCD. He is not a farm bred dog. On paper he has a good working pedigree.

 

His mom s out of Aled Owen's Bob and Janet Beale's Astra Bute, who is out of Sweep, who won the ISC in 1998. Fly comes from along line of Champion dogs. Her half brother won the 2007 International and her father won it in 2000. I know Astra dogs aren't popular on this board.

 

His dad is Brock, an open trial winner, has won the Irish Shepherds Nationals in 2006 and 2007. He placed second in an open trial in Northern England in 2009. He is a litter brother to James McGee's Becca.

 

He is a very high drive pup but is very biddable.

 

Would your advise be to stop this behavior?

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Chianne,

Note that I did NOT say that YOUR dog was exhibiting OCD behavior. I simply stated that running in circles is one classic form of OCD, and if you find your pup running in endless circles to entertain itself, then you should stop that. I have two dogs who run in circles, one well bred, one poorly bred. Breeding has nothing to do with it. Border collies as a whole can tend toward obsessive behavior. The owner of the poorly bred dog said to me one time, "When I go to feed him, he runs and runs, he's so happy." What she really had was a dog who wasn't getting enough attention and so had started running in circles. He's nearly 15 now and I have never been able to break that habit.

 

So my general point was that if someone has a dog who routinely runs in circles, be aware that that behavior CAN turn into something obsessive and be ready to stop any obsessiveness before it starts. I'm NOT saying that people shouldn't let their pups run. Just pay attention to the when and why of the running.

 

J.

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Agree. He does do it when he is bored. As soon as I start walking or want to play with him he stops and engages in play or training. I can see how it can turn into an OCD behavior.

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Spark, the rescue dog I got in June, is most definitely OCD. At 5-6 years old, I'm not exactly sure how to break the behaviour. He has worn a path between the duck house and the fence. If, we are outside, and not engaging in play, he will find the biggest rock in the yard and start rolling it...or he will go into the tall grass and pull out grass by the mouthfuls. Yet, he settles nicely in his crate, has a great recall and is generally (most of the time) getting along with the other dogs.

 

The previous owners used to run him behind an ATV for miles...to exercise him. I'm living with his compulsive behaviour now.

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Border collies as a whole can tend toward obsessive behavior.

 

 

Yes.

 

I've often (wryly) said that OCD seems to have been bred into the breed.

 

It's not strictly true, of course, but shepherds needed a dog who wouldn't quit because they were tired or who'd just been working for a long time. And that kind of lends itself to OCD behaviors, especially in dogs that don't (and, sadly all too often that do) have enough to do to keep them occupied.

 

Even trying to keep a dog busy with things like laser pointers can backfire and turn into OCD behaviors like light and shadow chasing. I've seen it all too often in BCs turned into rescue. After seeing a couple of them, I'd never play with a laser pointer!

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When I brought my dog home, he had been in shelters with small outdoor pens for several months. I took him out to the woods where I could let him off-leash without worrying about other people or dogs, and was surprised when he immediately started running FAST and HARD in a straight line away from me for about 15 feet, and then back at me. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

 

I think my young dog got the zoomies at the shelter, and had trained himself to just run back and forth, back and forth. Very sad. He also used to sometimes just spin in circles when he got very excited. First time I saw that, I thought, "What have I gotten myself into!?"

 

It only took a couple days for Buddy to figure out that he could run more than 15 feet at a time, and he soon graduated to long, joyous running. :)

 

Mary

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When I brought my dog home, he had been in shelters with small outdoor pens for several months. I took him out to the woods where I could let him off-leash without worrying about other people or dogs, and was surprised when he immediately started running FAST and HARD in a straight line away from me for about 15 feet, and then back at me. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

 

I think my young dog got the zoomies at the shelter, and had trained himself to just run back and forth, back and forth. Very sad. He also used to sometimes just spin in circles when he got very excited. First time I saw that, I thought, "What have I gotten myself into!?"

 

It only took a couple days for Buddy to figure out that he could run more than 15 feet at a time, and he soon graduated to long, joyous running. :)

 

Mary

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