Dogs do quirky and funny things all the time. Sometimes, dog owners will wonder if a specific behavior that their dog is doing is acceptable or normal. One of the most common behaviors that dogs do that their owner will question is kicking their back legs after they poop. So, our question is, is this normal behavior? And is it necessary to be concerned?
Why Does A Dog Kick Dirt After He Poops?
Most people think that a dog kicks dirt after he poops because he is trying to cover up his mess. However, this isn’t what he’s actually doing. There are several reasons why a dog behaves this way. Here are a few reasons why your dog may be kicking dirt after he poops.
Marking His Territory
Dogs are territorial. So, it’s completely understandable that a dog may be marking his territory when he is kicking the ground. When he marks an area with his feces and urine, he is sending a message to other dogs in the area that they are in his territory. These days, a domesticated dog won’t need these glands, however, their ancestor needed them in order to claim their domains.
Believe it or not, a dog has scent glands in its feet that secrete pheromones, which is a chemical that will trigger interactions and social reactions among other dog breeds. These pheromones from the scent glands that are released from a dog’s feet are pungent and long-lasting than either the scent of feces or urine. Basically, as a dog kicks the ground after pooping, they are really releasing these pheromones onto the ground. Humans are not able to smell these pheromones, but a dog will be able to and know that the poop in front of him belongs to another dog.
Besides the scents of urine and feces, the pheromones that they are leaving relay danger warnings, sexual availability, territorial claims, and possible food trails. A form of communication, the act of releasing pheromones will also affect the dog’s behavior along with his overall body function including hormones, makeup, behavior, and organs.
These pheromones can be used as a signal warning other dogs away or telling them that the dog is ready to mate. You may also see your dog kicking after sniffing another dog’s urine or poop in order to cover up the other pup’s scents with their own pheromones.
Remember that this kicking behavior is actually a natural way to communicate among dogs, even though domesticated dogs really don’t need to do it anymore. So, ultimately, it’s not something you really need to be worried about. You will notice that a dog that tends to be more dominant is often the dog that does the most aggressive kicking after they poop. And, if you have a multi-dog home, you will notice that some of your dogs kick a lot while others barely do it all.
Spreading or Burying His Waste
A second reason why a dog kicks his feet after he poops can simply be that he is trying to bury it. A behavior that is typically associated with a cat, kicking after a dog poops can also mean he’s trying to bury his waste. He may not be just burying his waste, but also trying to hide something or even spread his poop’s scent even further.
In rare instances, a dog tries to bury his feces when he feels threatened to try and hide that it is there, which you will see more often in a wild dog.
Wiping His Paws
There are some dogs that do not like having paws that are dirty, so if there is something on them after they poop, they will try to kick to get it off their paws. A dog may simply not like the debris or dirt on his paws and just trying to get it off, just like he would rub his face on the ground if he felt as though he had something on it.
While kicking after a dog poop can be a way to get something off of his paws, it can also be a sign of his discomfort. When it is only done after he poops, it’s probably associated with one of the other reasons listed above.
How Do You Stop A Dog From Kicking After He Poops?
While a dog may have his reasons to kick after he poops, he may have an owner that doesn’t want his landscaping damaged by his kicking behavior. If possible, though, do not discourage your dog’s kicking behavior since it is instinctive and natural. Remember that there are management techniques that you can apply to limit the damage your dog is doing to your grass.
Walk Your Dog On A Leash – The best way to protect your yard and landscaping is to walk your dog on a leash. This is called the avoidance method and will still let your dog kick where it is safe to do so, but won’t upset or ruin grass in an area where it’s not permitted.
Train Your Dog Where To Poop – You can also limit your dog or train him to poop in a specified area such as a dog run. You can easily designate a specific area for a dog to poop or urinate on instead of using a nice grassy area. Put down mulch, rock, or pebbles so your dog won’t do damage to your lawn. This allows your dog to act naturally, and you won’t have to worry about damage to your lawn.
Remember that if you yell at your dog after he poops, it can result in your pet being scared to poop, plus it can damage your bond of trust. This can cause your dog to start pooping in your home in secret or having diarrhea due to the stress from being yelled at.
Should I Be Concerned That My Dog Is Kicking Back After Pooping?
Kicking after he poops is harmless behavior, and it is not something to be worried about. It’s an instinct and part of some dog’s pooping habit. Not only is it a natural way for a dog to communicate, but you should also allow your dog to do his pooping ritual uninterrupted.