Bristol Spinning Dog Study

Welcome to the webpage for the Bristol Spinning Dog Project, an exciting new research study funded by Dogs Trust. Here you will find information about the projects aims, about the people working on the project and how you can get involved.‌‌‌

Project Outline

Over the next two years we will be studying dogs that repeatedly chase their tails or spin in circles. The project aims to understand why this type of behaviour develops, and the effect this has on dog welfare.

What is spinning or tail chasing behaviour?

Repeated spinning in circles and tail chasing are types of abnormal repetitive behaviour displayed by dogs. This behaviour can develop due to a range of reasons including;

  • the dog anticipating an exciting event, such as being fed or going for a walk;
  • the dog experiencing frustration, for example in situations when there is limited opportunity to show normal behaviours;
  • the dog experiencing anxiety, when the behaviour may occur as a ‘displacement’ behaviour;
  • spinning can also be a successful way of gaining attention, as people will often react by laughing at a dog that is spinning.
  • and spinning can also be displayed during play. 

To find out more about our study aims, use the 'Find out more' tab at the top of the page.

Who can help with this project?

Anyone who owns a dog can potentially help with this project. We are recruiting owners whose dogs chase their tails or spin in circles, and as a comparison population, we are also recruiting dog owners whose dogs do not display these behaviours. Any dog of any breed, age and sex are able to contribute provided they are fit and healthy. Follow the ‘Get involved’ tab on the right to see what your involvement may include.

Contact us


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