Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Trance Dog

We thought she just liked to sniff the bushes.  A lot.  As a reward for an especially obedient walk, we would lead her over to the giant fountain grass in our apartment complex where she would bury herself in the greenery and smells.  Or so we thought.  It turns out, Izzy could care less about the smells.  She just likes to trance.

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. 

A what? 

“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.


Anonymous said...

My 3 yo, 120 lb. Cane Corso (Italian Mastiff) trances under our kitchen tablecloth every day...several times a day...especially after he eats. Hilarious to watch. He even waits for us to move all the chairs away from the table so he has lots of tablecloth to rub against.

Amy Hodge said...

Our bullmastiff likes to trance under the Christmas tree.

Amy Hodge said...

Our bullmastiff likes to trance under the Christmas tree.