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Why do Dogs Walk in Circles Before Lying Down??

Before lying down, dogs often circle their beds or wherever they’ve chosen to settle in for a nap. This curious canine behavior dates back to prehistoric times , when dogs literally had to make their own beds.


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Although domesticated dogs have adapted to living with humans and can easily be housetrained, they’ve still retained some of their wild ancestors ‘ survival instincts.

“This behavior was hard-wired into the dog’s ancestors as a way to build a safe ‘nest,'” Leslie Irvine, author of “If You Tame Me: Understanding Our Connection With Animals,” told Life’s Little Mysteries.

Doggy beds and pillows haven’t always been around, so wild dogs had to pat down tall grass and underbrush to make a comfortable bed for themselves and their pups. The easiest way to prepare that night’s sleeping area was by walking around in a circle.

The rounding ritual may also have served as a safety precaution. “In the wild, the circling would flatten grasses or snow and would drive out any snakes or large insects,” said Irvine, a sociologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder who specializes in the role of animals in society.

“I have also heard that circling the area and thus flattening it leaves a visible sign to other dogs that this territory has been claimed,” Irvine said. “Even though our dogs now sleep on cushions, the behavior endures.”


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