Caroline Coile began to notice her dogs behaving strangely, starting with Bibi, a Saluki-like terrier. I am inherently very smart and always hyperactive. But then one day, Coile caught it walking extremely slowly under the clothes rack.
It closed its eyes, tiptoed with each step and let the fabric caress indifferently on its back. Everything plays out like a slow motion scene. The dog stayed like that for a few minutes, surprising Coile, a researcher specializing in canine genetics and behavior at Florida State University.
Everything may not have been said, but after a while Coile once again encountered that scene. This time it was another Saluki, not Bibi, but he repeated the exact same movements.
Only, this time the dog chose to go under a tree behind the house. It was still half-asleep, slowly tiptoeing step by step. And the dog also let the foliage drag on his back, stroking it nonchalantly.
“That day, we didn’t know what that behavior was“, Coile said.We will just say. “Oh, look, it’s turned into a slow-mo dog again”“. Only after finding out, she knew that her dogs were being led by ghosts.
What is a ghostly dog?
In English it is called “ghost-walking”, or “trancing”. And this behavior has only been documented in dogs. Scientists have yet to see any animals act like this, including cats that are sometimes a bit slow-mo.
“Ghost-walking” is characteristic behavior in that dogs will choose to walk slowly and cautiously beneath a soft, hanging object (usually foliage, grass, tablecloths, curtains, etc.) clothes…), and let the subject lightly touch, or caress them nonchalantly.
This behavior is most commonly seen in bull terriers. So much so that if you type “dog tracing” or “dog ghost walking” on YouTube, you’ll bet you’ll see a bunch of videos of bull terriers.
A Bull Terrier in a state of being witched
That doesn’t mean other dogs are never led by ghosts, though. Typically, two Saluki dogs of the Coile family.
You’ve seen them with your own eyes.”get under the thing that’s hanging, ears straight, nose upturned, eyes closed looking like they’re in ecstasy“, Coile said.
“It’s not like they’re being hypnotized by a crystal ball or something. But it looks like the dogs are going into a meditative-like state.”
Is it some kind of mental disorder?
Now, perhaps many dog owners who have witnessed such behavior will think their dog is mentally ill. And their worries are not unfounded.
Alice Moon-Fanelli, an animal behaviorist who graduated from the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, says the bull terrier, the species most likely to be led by ghosts, is also the species most prone to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Some of these dogs are even so severe that they have uncontrollable behaviors. For example, there are bull terriers that keep running around to chase their tails.
They do so incessantly because of their obsessive compulsions. The dog did not stop to defecate, nor did he stop to eat. Some will injure themselves, be aggressive towards their owners, and there have also been terriers that have exhausted themselves to death.
Moon-Fanelli therefore worries that the behavior of being possessed is also one of the obsessive-compulsive manifestations in this breed.
Another dog is “trancing”
But Coile disagreed. She thinks “tracing” is not an indication that your dog has OCD, or any undiagnosed neurological condition.
In fact, a study published in the Journal of Veterinary Medicine showed “ghost walking” behavior in dogs.seems to have no purpose”.
“I think dogs simply love that.” Coile said. “If you happen to break their line, they’ll come out like “Really?”. The dogs will then get annoyed with you and run away. Obviously this behavior is something they’re doing. enjoy”.
The more he researched, the more Coile realized that “ghost walking” was actually just a harmless behavior in dogs. She said: “The crawling terriers will get under the Christmas tree, curtains, towels… anything hanging up can cause irritation in the back.
Their eyes flicker, and they will walk this path slowly, as if walking on the moon. After a while the dogs will come out of that state on their own and be fine.”
And with that said, this behavior of being ghosted has so far only been documented in dogs. Coile says she believes genetics play a role in the practice of this behaviour. In particular, bull terriers and gray terriers are often the most susceptible to it.
A dog uses a tablecloth for tracing
So, if you catch your dog sneaking around alone under a tree, curtain, or clothes hanger, you don’t need to panic. There isn’t a single ghost leading the way, but sure enough, you have a meditating dog.
Refer to Popsci, Dogster