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Dog Trancing: What Is It & Why Do Dogs Do It? | Pupford

November 22nd, 2023

Filed under Pet Parenting

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

Often, it is a funny quirk that leads to lots of laughs, although it can be worrisome in some rare cases. The sudden change from happy-go-lucky, activated, and spry 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.

Why is my dog acting differently? Is it something I should be worried about? Are they ok? Is this a health concern? Are they having a seizure?

These are all common thoughts that arise and the short answer is dog prancing is usually not something to be worried about.

There are certain factors that should be taken note of that happen on rare occurrences that we will discuss later on in this article, but in and of itself, dog trancing has never been linked to future disease nor does it have any link to neurological problems.


For puppy parents who may have never seen the many viral dog-trancing videos on the internet, the term “dog trancing” is when a dog moves under hanging leaves from a tilted branch, an indoor plant, a tablecloth, or something similar, then proceeds to walk ahead at an incredibly slow pace.

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In some cases, they look as though they are stalking something, about to pounce. They will most likely have their ears down and their nose pointed intently forward or up in the air. Their steps are slow and soft as though they are avoiding making any noise at all.

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.

More commonly, though, trancing takes place under some type of cover.

In some very rare cases, dog trancing can be cause for concern. If a plant that is poisonous is the focal point for them, or if they tend to trance under something dangerous, it’s time to intervene. Check out a list of toxic plants here.

One main concern that people worry about is the possibility of it being a symptom of a serious health concern. They worry, “Is my dog having a seizure?”

Related Reading: 15 Funny Things Dogs Do & Why


what is dog trancing or Trance-like Syndrome

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.

In some cases, pet parents have said that the pup reacts annoyed or upset when they are being bothered when they were interrupted in their trance. This indicates that some dogs enjoy trancing and don’t want to be bothered when they are overcome with the urge to trance.

A dog who is having a seizure will not be able to respond at all to your calls when they are in a seized state. When they do experience a seizure they will noticeably act much differently both before and after the seizure.

This isn’t the case with dog trancing. Dogs that trance typically go back to normal the moment they are “snapped out of it.” A dog may be more susceptible to seizure if they have an underlying condition and there is no guarantee that it is related to the trancing.

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dog trancing typically happens under plants or a table cloth

It is not known why dogs trance. Some dog experts theorize that leaves, shrubbery, or even household items like hanging curtains or tablecloths simply feel good lightly moving along their backs. Others speculate that it is an inherent trait passed on from ancestors.

There is no scientific evidence as to why dogs do this. Bull Terriers are often stereotyped as the only dogs that are inherently born with the dog-trancing trait because they are a breed that commonly exhibits the trait, but this is not true. There are many dog breeds that display this type of behavior.


The best thing to do for a dog that is experiencing this somewhat unexplainable trait is to let them finish carrying out their ritual. For most dogs, it seems to be a comforting technique, as strange as it may seem. 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.

Make sure to monitor for any symptoms that accompany the trancing including vomiting, spasms, drooling, or collapse. These symptoms are cause for concern even without dog-trancing symptoms, so don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian.


if your elderly dog trances check with your vet

Let your vet know if your dog is older and has a sudden spurt of dog-trancing incidents. This is something that should be monitored especially if the incidents happen often and suddenly later in the dog's life.


When it comes to our furry friends, their safety is the first priority. This is why doggy parents should always trust their instincts, even when it comes to dog trancing.

Nobody knows the tendencies and intricacies of a dog better than their parents. Contact your vet if you are still feeling unsure so you can have peace of mind from an expert.

At Pupford, we provide resources to help make your relationship with your dog happy and healthy.

Be sure to check out our full line of Supplements to help improve your dog's cognition, focus, gut health, and even ability to calm down. Shop Dog Supplements here!

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