Air Conditioner Induces Paddling Behavior

Do the dogs think they’re in water?
By Karen B. London PhD, July 2012

Much of the country has been gripped by stifling heat. Trying to stay cool is what it’s all about, and dogs benefit just as much from air conditioning as humans do. The thing is, though, dogs and people seem to react differently to having cool air blowing on them. People tend to sit still and enjoy the breeze, but many dogs move a lot in the same conditions.

In these two videos of different dogs being held in front of an air conditioner, it’s impossible to say what’s really going on, but the dogs look as though they are making swimming motions.

Are they really trying to swim in the current of air? What do you think is going on? How does your dog react to air conditioning?

Karen B. London, PhD, is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral problems, including aggression. She is the author of five books on canine training and behavior.