What is Dog trancing?
Trancing, also known as “ghost walking” or “shadow chasing,” is a behavior that some dogs exhibit when they enter a hypnotic-like state. It involves the dog walking slowly and deliberately, with their head lowered and their body rigid. During trancing, the dog may appear unresponsive to external stimuli, including their owner’s commands.
Trancing is not a harmful behavior, but it can be concerning to some dog owners who may not understand why their dog is behaving in this way. It is important to note that not all dogs will exhibit trancing behavior, and it is more commonly seen in certain breeds, such as Bull Terriers, Greyhounds, Whippets, and Salukis.
So why do dogs trance?
There are several theories, but no definitive answer. One theory is that trancing is a self-soothing behavior that dogs engage in to relieve stress or anxiety. In this sense, trancing may serve as a coping mechanism for dogs who are feeling overwhelmed or anxious.
Another theory is that trancing is an instinctual behavior that is related to the hunting and stalking behaviors of wild canids. When a dog is in a trance-like state, they may be more focused on their surroundings and better able to detect prey. This may explain why some breeds, such as Greyhounds, which were originally bred for hunting, are more likely to trance than other breeds.
Is Trancing a concerning behavioral disorder?
It is important to note that while trancing is generally considered harmless, there are some cases where it may be a cause for concern. For example, if a dog is trancing excessively or in inappropriate situations, such as when they are outside and should be paying attention to their surroundings, it may indicate an underlying medical or behavioral issue. Additionally, if a dog is exhibiting other concerning behaviors, such as aggression or anxiety, it is important to seek the advice of a veterinarian or experienced dog behaviorist.
Can Trancing be learnt from dog to dog?
Some dog owners with multiple dogs have reported that their non-trancing dogs will start to trance after watching the other dog trancing. The new dog may trance under the same trigger the first dog tranced under, but oftentimes one dog will prefer to trance under different triggers or environment.
Should I do anything about it?
Trancing is an odd peculiar behavior that some dogs have. For the most part trancing is harmless and is not a pre-cursor obsessive compulsive disorder. So when you catch your dog trancing go ahead and let them be.
Overall, trancing is a relatively common behavior in dogs, and while the exact reasons for it are not fully understood, it is generally considered a harmless behavior. If you are concerned about your dog’s trancing behavior, it is important to speak with a qualified professional who can help you determine if there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.
© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC | All Rights Reserved April 2023