The reason dogs walk in circles before they sleep

Originally published at: The reason dogs walk in circles before they sleep | Boing Boing


The reason dogs walk in circles before they sleep

4 paragraphs that do not state why dogs walk in circles before they sleep


reason that dogs still circle their resting place

Because it would look weird if they walked in triangles or dodecahedrons?


By 30 seconds into the video, the answer is “it may be an ancestral holdover from when they had to make their beds outside.”


Jesus, you dog people. Dogs and cats have different social structures, which show in the ways they interact with humans: dogs are easily motivated to please humans, whereas cats have no such urge and therefore mostly do whatever they want. This bothers some people. There are plenty of affectionate cats, as a quick Google search will show, and plenty of cats who show love, empathy, and compassion.

Some dogs are the best animals: lots of them are indifferent to horrible. (My mom had a wretched, spoiled dog which bit her at least twice: nobody would call it the best anything.) Some cats are the best animals. It’s not species-contingent.


Or, maybe, they saw cats doing it, and being dogs, decided to copy them. Cats probably do it as part of some eldritch ritual to keep our universe safe from the Elder Gods.


Need me to bring you some coffee or something? Did your day start off in a bad way?


While I accept that cats are more likely to be involved in the supply-side of a bomb situation, the implication that they don’t care about humans is patently false. Until the robots rise up and learn to distribute treats, cats will continue to politely resist eating their human hosts for at least 30 seconds after our hearts stop beating. That sir, is love.


Enjoy :wink:

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While I buy that circling and pawing are evolutionary instincts, I’m not sure I buy the particular explanation about warmth/shelter. Many (most?) wild canines have dens, do they not? Certainly wolves, foxes and coyotes in my region do. I am pretty sure the African wild dogs at my local zoo have them as well. There might be particular instances where they choose or need to sleep outside, but for the most part they are heading back to their shelter.

Maybe it has something to do with parasites? Circling, pawing and smelling the spot they want to settle might reveal whether there are parasites in the grass or soil there?


Uh huh. So the cat who knows when I have a migraine and lays next to my head gently purring doesn’t care about humans. Or the other one who hovers nearby until I get my kid to stop crying. He hates loud noises, but he stays near until she’s ok. Or the cat who literally stayed by my side for a month of bed rest during pregnancy. That same cat would cuddle, purr, and groom me when I was in the throes of major depressive episodes in college. It is not an exaggeration to say she saved my life.

A lot of dogs are awesome. So are a lot of cats. You sir need to meet more cats.


My reaction to this story was similar to his, and I get along with both kinds of animals. There are videos of cats saving people from falling down stairs, dog attacks, and even attempting to defend their homes from wild animals on youtube. It’s too easy to generalize one’s own experiences and insist that everyone who has had a different variety is incorrect or muddled. Cats and dogs, like people, have a broad range of personalities and behaviors.


My dog used to do several circles in the grass before he took a dump, and he was one of the less developed ‘breeds’ of dogs (he had molars for crushing bones, the shaking instinct for when he caught rodents, and some other things) so he was closer to his ancestors than many modern breeds…

I wish I could have asked him why, but I’m no Dr Doolittle.


There is at least one “hearing ear” cat in the world: My nephew is deaf and he has trained his cat to alert him to his phone and to someone at the door.


Dogs share a seat at the table of human achievement for helping to build and maintain civilization.

Awhile back, I read about a study that anthropologists did comparing hunter/gatherer societies that had dogs with those that did not. They both managed to get the same amount of food, but the ones with dogs spent a third of the time getting it versus the ones without.

That’s a big chunk of free time that can be used to do other things. So it’s not an exaggeration to say that dogs were a key step in the development of human civilization.


Did they win medals?


I’m more of a dog person than a cat person due to allergies, but the idea that cats had no role in civilization has to be false. They’ve kept rodents out the grains stored for winter as long as we have been farmers rather than hunter/gatherers.


Why do dogs circle before they lay down - its in their nature.

Why do dogs love and please their masters - its in their nature.

Why do cats love and seek out their masters - because they choose to.

A dog loving you doesn’t mean shit. A cat loving you is a true sentiment.