Why Does My German Shepherd Circle Me? Understanding The Behavior

Why Does My German Shepherd Circle Me?

Why Does My German Shepherd Circle Me? German Shepherds are intelligent and loyal dogs known for their strong instincts and unique behaviors. One behavior that may leave owners puzzled is when their German Shepherd circles them.

In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind this behavior and shed light on why your German Shepherd may exhibit this circling behavior.

Instinctual Behaviors of German Shepherds

German Shepherds possess a range of natural instincts and traits that are deeply ingrained in their breed. They were originally bred as herding dogs, which means they have a strong herding instinct.

This instinct manifests in various ways, including circling, as a means to control and establish boundaries.

Territorial Behavior

One possible explanation for your German Shepherd circling you is territorial behavior. German Shepherds have a strong desire to mark their territory and establish ownership.

By circling you, your dog may be instinctively asserting dominance and reinforcing their claim over you and their immediate environment.

To manage this behavior, it is important to establish a clear hierarchy and reinforce your role as the pack leader through consistent training and boundaries.

Attention-Seeking Behavior

Circling can also be a form of attention-seeking behavior in German Shepherds. Dogs often engage in behaviors to gain attention from their owners.

By circling around you, your German Shepherd may be trying to elicit a response or seek interaction from you.

It is crucial to respond appropriately to your dog’s attention-seeking behaviors. Provide attention and praise when your dog behaves positively while ignoring or redirecting unwanted behaviors.

Consistency and positive reinforcement will encourage desired behaviors in your German Shepherd.

Bonding and Affection

The circling behavior in German Shepherds can also be attributed to their close bond and affectionate nature. These dogs form strong attachments to their owners and often use physical contact and body language to express their love and reinforce the bond.

When your German Shepherd circles you, it may be their way of showing affection and seeking closeness.

Spending quality time with your dog, engaging in activities, and providing physical touch can help nurture the bond between you and your German Shepherd.

Anxiety and Stress

In some cases, circling behavior in German Shepherds may be a manifestation of anxiety or stress. Changes in routine, separation anxiety, or fear-inducing situations can trigger anxious behaviors, including circles.

If you suspect anxiety or stress as the underlying cause, it is essential to identify the triggers and work on reducing your dog’s anxiety levels. Consult with a veterinarian or a professional dog behaviorist for guidance on managing and alleviating your German Shepherd’s anxiety.

Health Issues

Occasionally, circling behavior in German Shepherds can be indicative of underlying health problems. Conditions such as ear infections or neurological disorders can lead to disorientation and repetitive circling motions.

If your dog’s circling behavior is persistent, accompanied by other concerning symptoms, or if you suspect a health issue, it is crucial to seek veterinary advice. A thorough examination and appropriate medical intervention may be necessary to address the underlying health condition.

Training and Behavior Modification

To manage to circle behavior in German Shepherds, positive reinforcement training techniques can be highly effective.

Redirect your dog’s attention to alternative behaviors and reward them when they exhibit desired actions. Consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are key to modifying your German Shepherd’s behavior.

If needed, consider enlisting the help of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist who specializes in German Shepherds. They can provide expert guidance tailored to your specific situation and help address any persistent circling behavior.


Why Does My German Shepherd Circle Me? Understanding the reasons behind your German Shepherd’s circling behavior is crucial for effective management and nurturing a healthy relationship.

Whether it stems from their instinctual herding traits, territorial instincts, a need for attention, affection, anxiety, or health issues, addressing the underlying cause is essential.

By establishing clear boundaries, providing consistent training, ensuring proper socialization, and addressing any underlying health or anxiety concerns, you can help your German Shepherd develop positive behaviors and strengthen the bond between you and your loyal companion. Thank you for reading this article on Why Does My German Shepherd Circle Me.