Have you ever taken your pooch outside to do his business, only for him to come back in covered in dirt and grass (or maybe worse)? It just seems like every time you let him outside, your dog has an irresistible urge to make a mess.
My dog has an uncanny ability to turn his back legs directly towards me after pooping, to kick the ground up in my direction. I’ve wondered for a long time why he does this, partly because I can’t remember a dog I’ve owned before him doing it! I also wondered because I find it both cute and annoying at the same time, and I wondered if other people did too.
So, I’ve done some research and found some information. And no, its not that your dog just wants to share with you so much that he kicks his potty stuff toward you! Here’s what we know, or at least what we think we know.
Examining The True Reason Why
You may have heard the information that dogs sweat through the pads of their feet. Or maybe this is the first time you’ve heard that. Certainly you’ve smelled your dog’s feet and noticed a hint of “corn chip” aroma coming from them. But that’s not the only thing coming out of those sweaty paws!
What you may not know about your dog’s paws is that he has glands in the pads of his feet. These are called eccrine glands, and they are located on the pads of his feet and on his nose. Eccrine glands are used in territorial behavior. The dog scrapes his paws on the ground to excrete the pheromones and spread them in the area, to show the other dogs that they were there.
Essentially, they are marking the territory. If it helps, you might equate the process with “tagging” (a graffiti artist’s signature), writing your name in the snow with pee, or simply leaving a big placard behind that says, “Fred (or whatever your name is, if you aren’t Fred) was here!”
Preventing this Behavior
Some dog owners may find this just plain annoying, rude, or feel that it is an aggressive behavior. It can be considered aggressive only in the way that your dog is doing so to mark his territory.
You can break the dog of this habit if you feel necessary by correcting him when he does it, or not allowing him to kick the dirt after he finishes going poop. As far as we can tell, it doesn’t hurt anyone or anything, although your lawn might feel differently.
In fact, having your territory marked by your dog can potentially deter wild dogs or animals from approaching, which can be beneficial in the long run, especially if there are a lot of pests in the area.
Well, there you have it. Hey, maybe you can bring that paw-scraping behavior inside and teach him to wipe his feet before coming through the door and tracking mud all over the fresh-mopped tile!