What Is Dog Trancing?

Dec 5, 2022 | Pet Health, Pets

Happy Tuesday everyone!  We are day 6 into The 24 Days Before Christmas and we are talking about What Is Dog Trancing?  I have never heard of this before and was curious as to what it meant.  I don’t think Jake And Maggie have ever done it but I have had dogs who have done this?
Dog Trancing | www.twoadorablelabs.com

What Is Dog Trancing?  

Experts refer to the manner in which dogs move while experiencing TLS as “hypokinetic gait,” incredibly slow pacing characterized by soft, deliberate footfalls.  Trancing is when a dog will gingerly and very slowly walk under overhanging foliage, tablecloths, curtains, etc. such that whatever they are walking under just barely touches them, or in other cases, they may freeze and appear to be ”in a trance.” If you have never seen it before and your dog starts doing it at home, it can be a bit unnerving to watch. These dogs walk so slowly that it’s as if they were trying to sneak up on something and are trying let their footfalls make little noise. They also appear to be in an almost trance-like state, hence the term ‘trancing’.

Dog Trancing | www.twoadorablelabs.com

Dog trancing is an unusual, but usually harmless dog behavior that often leaves pet parents scratching their heads.

The sudden change from happy-go-lucky to walking slowly in a “trance”, sometimes with their heads down, or staring ahead in hunting mode can bring up a complex set of questions.  I remember when I brought Bear home from the shelter.  He was playing in the yard and then all of a sudden, lowered his head and began moving towards me extremely slow as if in a trance.  Not being an experienced dog mom, it worried me that maybe he was developing a bad behavior.  I called his name and he bounced back to his normal goofy self.  It only happened once but he might have been dog trancing.

Dog Trancing | www.twoadorablelabs.com

Is Trancing a Behavioral Disorder?

There are some owners that might fear that trancing is either a behavioral disorder itself or the precursor to a disorder such as obsessive compulsive disorder. Their fears might be bolstered by the fact that Bull Terriers, one of the breeds commonly known for trancing, are also prone to OCD behaviors, like tail chasing. A group called BT Neuro, in 2004 surveyed a group of Bull Terrier owners to see if there was any correlation to trancing and tail chasing and they could not find any.  In other dogs, trancing itself is a compulsive behavior and these dogs may respond to certain behavioral interventions, such as increased enrichment activities, such as food puzzles, interactive toys, and more exercise.

Dog Trancing | www.twoadorablelabs.com

Do dogs have a favorite trancing tree or area?

Dogs often have favorite trancing tree or area, but there’s no common tree species that might hint at a scent trigger. And some prefer hanging clothes. Some even prefer odder things, but most have in common trancing beneath something that hangs down and scarcely touches their back.

Other common terms for this behavior are “ghost-walking”, “weed-walking”, and the official term is Trance-like Syndrome (TLS).

The extra-slow movement makes for some very cute videos, but as mentioned above, not all dog trancing is the same. It can look somewhat different in different dogs. For instance, some dogs don’t need to be underneath a certain plant or fabric. They can start the trance in the middle of an open room and slowly take one step after another.

Is Dog Trancing called a seizure?  

Dog trancing and dog seizures are completely different things. The main indicator that your dog is not having a seizure is that they will snap out of their trance when you call them.

If they are in dog trance mode they will at least acknowledge the attempt to get their attention with even small indications. A slight glance in your direction or even a readjustment of their ears so they can hear you better is often typical.

There is no scientific evidence as to why dogs do this.  Bull Terriers have been stereotyped for this behavior but there is noting to worry about. The best thing to do for a dog that is experiencing this unexplainable trait is to let them finish carrying out their ritual. For most dogs, it seems to be a comforting technique.  There is no reason to scold or be upset with your dog for being themselves and acting on harmless calming techniques. They may even be beneficial to them.




Want more pet related topics:

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I’m Bobbi Jo, a lab-lover who took my passion for animals and dogs and turned it into something bigger.  When I adopted Jake and Maggie, my love for them became the driving force behind Two Adorable Labs, and my blog was born.  My hope is to not only share them with the world, but to help educate others on the importance of animal health and well-being. 

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