Wednesday, June 4, 2014


Circling, Chicago, IL

Ever wonder why the canine member of your family circles around multiple times before retiring—or for that matter, before making a deposit, having fun at playtime, or becoming anxious? It’s in the DNA.

Animal behaviorists generally attribute the circling to evolutional survival of those not eaten by a saber-toothed tiger. The circling behavior also seems to be attributed to the existence of tall grasses in ancient times that made bedding down or doing your business rather obstructive. So by circling around a number of times, the prehistoric dogs were able to flatten the grasses, scatter hidden insects and snakes, scope out a 360 degree assessment of lurking predators, and perhaps render an attacking predator dizzy from running in circles. That last theory is mine only.

Rosemary loves to play capture the rubber chicken by incessantly running around the coffee table until her worthy opponent tires or gets as dizzy as a saber-toothed tiger. And you know the mission is about to be accomplished on our neighborhood walks when she goes into the “circle the wagons” mode. That means only one of two things is about to happen—either we are about to be attacked by hostile Indians or the eagle has landed and we can grab a stick and go home! Once she arrives at home, she circles with the stick at the door until she can enter and runs up the stairs with another prize for the trophy cup!

Some scientists in Czechoslovakia recently studied a large sample of dog breeds and concluded that their circling before scoring a BM enabled the dogs to get aligned with the N/S magnetic poles. Seems that among other highly sensitive traits of dogs like their keen sense of smell, they are also acutely aware of gravitational forces on the planet. Consequently, they generally line up in a N/S orientation before doing the deed. Skeptical? I bet now you’ll always check this out for the rest of your life!

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