Dogs exhibit several behaviors that may seem strange if a human were to do them, but they are normal in the canine world. Kicking their hind legs after defecating is one such behavior that may appear to have no purpose. However, there are reasons why your dog may be doing it.

Territorial Marking

Dogs have scent glands in the bottom of their feet that they use to mark their territory. While domesticated dogs may not necessarily require these glands, their ancestors used them to claim their domain.

The scent glands contain pheromones, which are invisible scent-marking chemicals. These chemicals serve as a dog’s calling card or identifier. Pheromones are also found in urine and anal gland secretions and may be used to mark territory. Other dogs can smell the pheromones after a dog kicks, even though humans cannot, and will be able to tell that the poop belongs to someone else.

Kicking after defecating could be used as a warning signal for territorial dogs or as an indication that a dog is ready to mate. You may even notice your dog kicking like this after sniffing another dog’s poop or urine. This may be an effort to cover the other dog’s scent with their own pheromones.

Dominant dogs are often the ones that do the most aggressive kicking after defecating. If you have multiple dogs in your household, you may notice that some dogs hardly kick while others put on quite a display.

Burying or Spreading Waste

Another reason why your dog may be kicking its feet after defecating is that it could be trying to bury its waste. This behavior is more commonly associated with cats, but dogs may also try to bury their waste.

The act of burying waste isn’t done because a dog is trying to hide something, but rather to spread the scent of their poop further. Kicking up dirt and covering it brings more attention to the feces, so it is another way a dog marks its territory after defecating.

On rare occasions, a dog may actually try to bury its feces if it feels threatened and is trying to hide its presence. However, this is more common in wild canines.

Wiping Paws

Some dogs do not like having dirty paws, so if they get something on them after defecating, they may kick in an attempt to wipe their paws off. They don’t like the feeling of dirt or debris on their paws and are simply trying to flick it off, much like they would rub their face on the ground if they feel something is on it.

Although kicking can be a sign of discomfort or an attempt to get something off paws, when this is done only after defecating, it is more likely to be associated with one of the other two reasons above.

Can You Stop Your Dog From Kicking After Defecating?

While your dog may mean well when it kicks after defecating, many dog owners do not appreciate the damage it causes to their landscaping. However, where possible, the kicking behavior your dog exhibits should not be discouraged since it is natural and instinctive.

There are some management techniques you can apply to limit the damage it may be causing to your grass.

Walking your dog on a leash off your property is the best way to protect your landscaping. This avoidance method will still allow your dog to kick after defecating, but since it will be down the street or in a public dog walking area, you won’t be upset if the grass gets ruined.

Another option is to train them to limit them to defecating in a specific area like a dog run. Designate an area for your dog to go potty and instead of using nice grass, put down river rocks, pebbles, or mulch so your dog won’t do any damage. This way your dog can do what it does best, and you don’t need to worry about it.

Attempting to stop this behavior by yelling at your dog after defecating could result in your dog becoming fearful of defecating around you, which can damage the bond of trust between you. It may even start defecating in the house in an attempt to do it in secret or develop diarrhea due to the stress of being yelled at.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *