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Why Your Dog Runs Laps

You’ll lap this one up. Trust us.

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It’s a beautiful day with your dog at your side...or so you think! You look away for one second and suddenly Spot is frantically running laps around the yard.

But what exactly causes this? We’ll break down some of the reasons why your pup does this and what to do about it.

THE CASE OF THE ZOOMIES

This fast lap-running is your dog engaging in what is known as the “zoomies.” (No, this isn’t where your pup hosts a virtual Zoom meeting with their fellow dog friends, though that’d be adorable.) “Zoomies” is the common name for a type of frenetic random activity period (FRAP) where a dog suddenly releases all. the. energy. While Spot is probably best-known for this behavior, other animals like cats and horses have been known to engage in a good ‘ol zoomie.

These zoomies can take the form of continuously running laps around the yard or circling an area like a kitchen table. The root cause? Pent up energy! You might notice your dog running laps right after being let out of the crate, first thing in the morning, after seeing a furry friend or when you come home. Occasionally, this lap-running can be caused by stress after a vet visit or bath time.

A case of the zoomies generally lasts a few minutes or so, though they can sometimes go on for up to 10 minutes. No dog is immune to the zoomies—however, you’ll see that they tend to slow down as they get older whereas puppies can sometimes have zoomies a couple times a day!

MAPPING THEIR ROUTE

You might notice your dog has a certain path they follow when running laps around your yard and this could harken back to their wolf roots. When navigating their territory, wolves only use trails in order to conserve energy. Your dog’s path-making might be your pup simply tapping into their ancestor’s instinct.

Another theory is that your dog is mirroring you. If you think about it, you tend to walk along the sidewalk with your pup, which is a path. This path-walking could be reinforcing those wolf instincts and you might be unintentionally teaching your pup to create a path and stick to it.

Depending on your dog’s breed, you might also notice the paths follow a particular pattern. Herding breeds such as a collie or corgi like to move in circles whereas guard dogs will often protect the perimeter of the yard. This means your rottweiler’s path will most likely follow your fence. Hounds and terriers that love to burrow may be drawn to low spots, so their path might go to and from that area.

If Spot’s traffic patterns are weakening your lawn, check out Good Boy™ in our BarkYard kit! This nutrient-packed mix will help thicken any areas that are showing wear while also boosting soil quality. (Psst...take a peek at some more lawn repair tips here.)

REINING IN THE ZOOMIES

Now that you know what the zoomies are and why they happen, there are some steps you can take to help rein it in and burn off some of that energy.

If your dog often gets the zoomies during a certain time or after a particular event like bath time, make sure they’re in a safe place where they can’t accidentally harm themselves. This could mean bringing them into a carpeted room to prevent slippage and keeping them away from breakable decor or sharp table corners. Even better, you can help your dog get all that energy out of their system by playing a simple game of fetch or even engaging in some dog yoga. This lap-running behavior is also especially common during the winter months where outside trips are shorter. In that case, try some fun indoor activities with your dog!

It’s nearly impossible to stop your dog’s lap-running when they’re in the middle of it, so it’s best to just wait it out. If your dog is running toward the street or an unsafe area, redirect them by running in the opposite direction and calling for them or throw their toy in the direction you want them to go. Try not to chase your pup since this will add to their excitement as they’ll think you’re playing with them!

Remember: The occasional zoomies are totally normal, but if you feel they’re happening too frequently, reach out to your veterinarian to figure out what’s going on.

Plain and simple, zoomies are pure fun and one of the many reasons why dogs are the best ever. In fact, we have a little challenge for you: Try to watch your dog running around the yard and NOT smile. (Yeah, we didn’t think so.)


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