Why dogs circle themselves in the sleeping place before they lie down?

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Turning around in a circle several times before lying down to go to sleep is assume to be an instinct evolved over millions of years while dogs and their ancestors were living in the wild. The supposed purpose was to mat down the wild grass in order to rid it of anything that might be harmful, such as snakes and insects. Domestic dogs will still be seen to do this even when they are lying down on a carpet or on a cushion. It would seem that they do it only when they are preparing to go to sleep and not they are just lying down for a short time to wait or to rest.

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