What’s with a dog kicking up dirt after pooping?

Dog kicking sand -- The Hot Mess Press

If you thought your doggy is into cleaning the area when it kicks up dirt after pooping, you are way off. Dirt, sand or grass can go flying, but it is part of a complicated communication system. You are likely unaware of most of the methods your dog uses to communicate, and this is one of them.

Dog pooping in grass
Image-by-Pezibear-from-Pixabay

 

This follows up on my blogs about what’s with butt sniffing and pre-poop circling of dogs.

Snoopy Cartoon
Image by pixy.org

Your dog is putting up a mailbox

If you put up a mailbox with your name on it, you claim your territory. The same goes for your dog. Although it is not aggressive behavior, it tells other dogs that they are approaching another dog’s territory. It is but only one part of the canine species’ sophisticated communication network.

Canine paws
Image-by-birgl-from-Pixabay

Your dog uses its paws to communicate

What you don’t see is your dog’s body producing pheromones. It is a chemical crucial for canine communication. Although the scent of your dog’s urine and poop also play a role in the way dogs talk to each other, the pheromone glands in their paws are much more powerful and longer-lasting. Therefore, using the feet to kick up the dirt spreads the message over a larger area.

Dog Park
By-David-Shankbone-Own-work-commons.wikimedia.org

You might think your dog needs a bath

Your dog’s body produces a fresh batch of pheromones in anticipation of a poo-poo break without you knowing. If, by chance, you smell your dog’s paws right then, you might confuse the smell with the need for a bath or a grooming session. All it means is that doggo is preparing for reaffirming its ownership of the mailbox.

Puppy pooping
Photo by pxhere.com

The origin of this communication method dates back to a time when canines lived in nature where they had to protect their territories. However, domesticated canines do not use this method as a sign of aggression. Instead, they alert other doggies that members of the same species are nearby. If you take your pup to dog parks, you might notice an overdrive of this communication method.

Dog pooping
Photo by Flickr

 

When is kicking a problem

If you notice your dog is kicking when it is not linked to pooping, there might be a reason for concern. This could involve kicking indoors, on carpets or furniture, or outside on concrete or the patio. Such behavior might indicate injured paw pads, which could start with being sensitive to cracking and bleeding. This is a condition to discuss with your vet.

Similar reaction might occur if your dog feels threatened. It could happen if you introduce a new puppy — or even a baby — to the household. Other significant changes could have the same effect on your dog.

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