Ya, you heard me correctly. She’s a trancer. We only heard of this odd behavior recently when we dropped Izzy off with the Sylvia Krause, aka the Greyhound Lady. On Sylvia’s front porch, Izzy had found a ficus tree, which she proceeded to circle in slow motion.
“Oh, she’s a trancer,” Sylvia said matter-of-factly.
“One of mine does that. The big guy over there loves to trance,” she said, pointing to one of her greys. “No one really knows why they do it, but it’s a common behavior among greyhounds.”
As I paid closer attention, Izzy did appear to be pretty mesmerized by the low branches of the tree lightly brushing against her back. She walked slowly, gingerly, letting the leaves of each branch linger on her skin. And her eyes? Completely glazed. Our girl had entered a different world.
It turns out that trancing is not unique to greyhounds. Got a bull terrier or a basset hound? You may catch your beloved dog trancing, too—those are a couple of other susceptible breeds. Some owners misinterpret the behavior as seizing, but it’s really harmless. While there’s not a lot of info out there about trancing, it seems that there’s not much to the behavior. Some dogs simply love the feel of something on their backs. Weird, I know. Even weirder to witness, I promise you.
Lately, as the heat of the summer has kept us hibernating indoors, trancing under our fake tropical plant seems to be Izzy’s favorite pastime, a post-dinner ritual. I finally caught it on video for your enjoyment:
And just in case you want more proof of this odd canine behavior, I tracked down a You Tube video of another grey in full trance mode: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puklj3TXvOU.
No matter how many times I’ve seen her do it, watching Izzy trance makes me laugh. A silent laugh, of course—I don’t want to break her from her trance. Wouldn’t that be dangerous, like waking a sleepwalker? Really, what I’d like to do is hand her a pair of glow sticks and throw her a little light-switch rave.