Have you ever caught your dog acting strange? Perhaps in the presence of plants? Knowing the effects of plants on your pup is an important part of caring for your dog. While some plants may be poisonous, even the harmless ones can cause your dog to react.
Some dogs go into a slow-moving meditation-like state when they come in contact with any plant. This slow-motion movement is known as “trancing”—sometimes called ghost-walking—and remains an unexplainable behavior in dogs.
This response to plants is most common in bull terriers and greyhounds. But it has also been reported with Salukis, Basset Hounds, Whippet, Jack Russell, Labrador, Irish Setter, Cane Corso, Cavalier, Australian Cattle Dog, and Puggle.
Experts are not completely sure why this behavior occurs, but it’s not believed to harmful. Some experts think this psychedelic state just feels good for the dogs. It may also just be the relaxing effects of plants. Dog owners report seeing glazed-over eyes, but once the dog snaps out of this state, it resumes normal activity as if nothing has happened.
Sometimes the reaction seems to start when a plant or other hanging objects like a curtain or tablecloth lightly grazes the dog’s back. This causes the dog to move in a slow-motion creep as if they were in a trance. Just search “dog trancing” on YouTube and you’ll get plenty of examples.
When owners first witness trancing, they may think the dog is having a medical problem. While the behavior remains mostly unexplained, dog owners should not be alarmed by trancing. It has not been found to be connected with any neurological or psychological issues.
Some dogs can go into such deep trances that they do not respond to calls and whistles from their owners. Some may even become agitated when you try to break them out of the trance. It’s not the scent that appears to trigger dog trancing, as various dogs choose different types of bushes, and some prefer hanging clothes. Some even prefer odder things, but most have in common something that hangs down and lightly touches them.
The good news is, tracing usually only lasts a few minutes. If your dog experiences trancing, just think of it as another quirk in your pup’s behavior. It is smart to keep plants away from dogs in general, in case they are poisonous. If you need more information on caring for your dog, visit the Angels’ Eyes Blog.