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Why do dogs pace?

Updated on March 11, 2012

Back and forth…back and forth…the dog paces. It’s as if the dog is measuring the space. This attitude would not harm the dog but the movement can be quite annoying especially if the pet is pacing in a restricted space or in an area where the activities of a busy family are being done. No doubt the pet is loved but you can’t help but be annoyed by a dog that is underfoot and creating an obstruction. A dog walks, trots, canters and gallops. Our furry friend paces as well. Dogs are energetic animals, thus it would not be surprising for them to be constantly on the move. Pacing though seems to be quite an unnatural movement of a dog especially it is being done on the back seat of a car or in a stamp sized living room. Have you seen a dog pacing inside his crate? The movement is both amusing and annoying. Dogs are noted for their irrational behaviors. To us humans, the dog’s pacing may look silly and ridiculous but if the pet can talk it would surely tell you the reason behind the movement.

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The bored dog

Dogs that are left alone for the better part of the day with no toys to play with will be bored. Bored dogs develop into destructive dogs. The dog may decide to do the landscaping or destroy the possessions of the master. Incessant barking is another manifestation of the dog’s boredom. And so is pacing.

The territorial dog

To the consternation of a busy owner, a dog would pace before defecating. The dog would pace…sniff the ground…and pace again. Is the dog looking for a more suitable place to deposit its excrements? The dog is actually sniffing the scent of other dogs. Once a scent is found the dog will defecate or urinate in the same spot to cover the existing scent with his own. The dog is proclaiming to the other dogs that it is his territory.

The nervous dog

Some dogs are afraid of loud noises. These animals have heightened senses that allow them to know an imminent thunderstorm. The nervous dog would be seen pacing back and forth as if fortifying itself for the coming ordeal.

The stressed dog

When troubled or when worried about a particular concern, a person would commonly pace while thinking what must be done. Similar to humans, pacing is also common in highly stressed dogs.

The sick dog

Pacing is a natural movement of a dog however, when pacing is accompanied by heavy panting, it is imperative for the pet to be taken to a veterinary facility. Pacing is one of the symptoms of a viral infection.

Pacing Dog

pacing dog

Pacing Dog


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