Action or Movement-Related Behaviors

  • Hypervigilance: When the dog keeps in constant motion, or moves rapidly, and is constantly alert and aroused to his environment.
  • Hyperexcitability: When the dog’s state of arousal is out of sync with what is going on in the environment—i.e. the dog is aroused when the situation is relatively stable. The dog will most often be panting quickly, eyes will be round and open, pupils dilated, brow furrowed, tail wagging.
  • Lack of Movement: When the dog’s wakeful state keeps him standing, sitting or lying down, hardly moving his feet, his spine is usually straight, and there is little movement out of any part of his body.
  • Stereotypies: These are repetitive, non-goal-oriented movements. Usually in response to an abnormal environment, such as extended confinement without proper mental enrichment.
    • Circling: When the dog traces a circular motion, in one direction, over and over again.
    • Pacing or Route-Tracing: When the dog traces a path side to side, walking a certain distance in one direction, and then the dog walks the same distance in the other direction, repeatedly. Each change in direction is preceded by a signature head-flick.
    • Rebounding off Walls: When the dog uses a wall or vertical surface to launch off of during a circular route or a backward and forward route--repeatedly.
    • Suckling: When the dog puts his mouth around an object (usually blanket) or himself (usually flank) and keeps a rhythmic motion with the back of his mouth and tongue.


Return to Stress/Anxiety/Conflict Ethogram.