German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,388 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone dealt with a dog that circles around people? Obviously this is a herding breed, but it's not really 'herding' because he singles them out. He gets really excited when he hasn't seen anyone in a few hours or when he meets someone new. If the person is standing in one spot, he does extremely tight circles around their legs. It's close enough that his body touches their legs(but he's not exactly rubbing against them) and his wagging tail beats against them. If the person is walking, he circles as closely as he can around them without tripping them or getting kicked. He does about 3-10 circles, depending on how excited he is. I've tried standing against a wall to stop him from circling(while completely ignoring him in every way), but he ends up doing semi-circles. I've tried to physically stop him from going around me, but then he tends to circle more because he thinks it's a game.

I don't really understand what he's trying to communicate by circling, other than 'I'm excited to see you!'. It bothers me that he does this to complete strangers too. Also if something is in his mouth, he snorts a lot while doing this. He puts his ears down too in submission. Is this a herding thing, or what is it? I've never met any other dogs that do this. It's really annoying and I'm scared he's going to trip someone.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,649 Posts
Rafi does exactly this--ears back, tight circles. I think it's adorable and so does everyone he does it to. It's like he's a big kitty-cat!


He also will do it with strangers if they express an interest in him.

He's never tripped anyone and in the 17 months I've had him no one has been bothered by it.
Everyone just stops, pets him and goes about their business.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,388 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Chrono probably wouldn't be able to knock anyone over, but he really likes children(perfect level for kisses!!) and he's knocked over my boyfriend's two year old niece a few times in all of his 110 pound glory. I'm pretty scared of him knocking down a strangers child in an off leash area even though his recall is pretty good.

The only people who are bothered by it are my boyfriends parents(but they don't matter) and probably the people Chrono rubs up against when he's just went swimming.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,649 Posts
Now that you mention it--I guess it can have some drawbacks. He definitely does like to get chummy when he's all wet and a good friend of mine came over a few weeks ago, right when Rafi was starting to blow his coat. Rafi did the obligatory circle and then my friend looked down at his pants and said, "Hey, now I look just like Rafi!"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,571 Posts
I don't like my dogs to intrude in other people's spaces. (And by other "people," I mean other dogs too!
)

It may look adorable but anyone who has ever had a lab rush right up into your or your GSD's personal space (or for that matter, just experienced a person who just stands too close in your personal space), knows it's not so cute when you're on the receiving end. I pick on labs because they seem to have virtually no personal space, as a breed, but obviously, this varies greatly from dog to dog.

So I have my kids back off. I actually train it with my dogs that tend to move in too close. When a person is sitting or sitting still and calls them over, then they are welcome to get as close as that person likes (without jumping up); but not when someone hasn't initiated the contact.

You're right: a dog that gets underfoot when excited is a dog that may get himself hurt in an emergency (even a minor emergency, if he trips up a parent rushing off to pick up a fallen toddler) or someone who stumbles when carrying a cup of hot tea.

I adore my dogs. I want everyone else to adore my dogs. I don't want to temper their joie de vivre, but I also want dogs that are welcome everywhere, are universally liked (to the extent possible) and don't put themselves in harm's way.

To extinguish this behavior, I've found it's best to simply ask for a behavior that your pup can't do at the same time. If you haven't already done so, a "Finish" command would be something you might train and use here.

This way, your dog has something to do (breaking the circling behavior), is rewarded for it (hooray!), and it gets him out from in front of you (where either of you could get hurt) and at your side (which, by the way, many dogs will follow along side of you better off leash than on.)

Not the best training video, but helpful: http://vodpod.com/watch/1607110-dog-training-heel-or-finish-command

http://vodpod.com/watch/1607106-dog-training-heel-or-finish-command-part-2

If you or the other person are motionless, a recall "come" and sit can do the same thing. If you're standing outside and it's otherwise practical, you could simply throw a ball and redirect him that way. Obedience isn't always giving a command and waiting for the appropriate response. It's often simply managing behaviors. Whenever I can replace a behavior that I don't want with one that my dog would like *better,* I do that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,482 Posts
Clover circles us when she is a little excited, like when we are about to feed her, or about to take her for a walk. I have also seen her circle at other times, but never in an obtrusive way, although she does not like to be blocked when she is doing it.

Funny thins is, she also ALWAYS circles clockwise. (I have often wondered, if we were in the southern hemisphere, would she circle counter clockwise.) I suppose part of it stems from the natural herding instinct.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,184 Posts
My Diesel spins when excited. It's hardwired into him due to the fact that he was kenneled and crated so much for the first 3.5 years of his life. He had no other way to blow off steam in a crate, so he spun. It happens less now, but I worry about him taking out a knee - he's that strong when he does it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,451 Posts
I've got a spinner. She runs tight circles around me. She also spins in her crate, in front of the door when she wants in/out, and now when I wake up in the morning I see she is spinning like mad on her dog bed from the time the alarm goes off to when I walk over and open the bedroom door.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,649 Posts
Kai used to spin and that would turn into a tail chase. Now that really was dangerous!

Rafi doesn't intrude in anyone's personal space who doesn't want him there.
His human friends love his circles and since he's on a leash when we're walking it's easy to control his interactions with strangers. He's also a good listener and if I tell him to "Leave It" (since he would love to greet every single person he meets) then he keeps on walking. Luckily he doesn't sound as enthusiastic as Chrono in his greetings--he keeps it to one or two circles and doesn't do it when people are walking--that would be scary! I carefully monitor the way he greets kids though b/c he is a huge kid lover and I don't want the kids to be scared.

When I first got him he thought the best greeting was jumping on people.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,609 Posts
When my dogs are excited to see me, they circle. I feel like an Indian totem pole.

One thing I was warned about though and that's to not let Riley circle me under other circumstances because then he's in protect mode and that can be dangerous.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top