Why Do Dogs Kick Back Dirt After Pooping?

Why do dogs kick back dirt after pooping? For dog lovers, their dogs and puppies are the most important beings in their life. Dogs will love you unconditionally and the happiness on their face when they see you after work or school, is the best thing after a long day of hard work. As dog owners, we become tuned to our dog’s individual behavior.

Each dog has its own quirky little way of expressing itself. However, even though each dog has its own unique personality, there are a few traits that almost every dog possesses. One such dog behavior is kicking back dirt after pooping.

dog kicks dirt after peeing or pooping

Marking Territory

Many people think that when their dogs kick at the ground with their back feet after they have defecated or urinated, they are just trying to cover up their mess, as a cat does.

However, this is not entirely true. When your dog is frantically scraping the ground and covering up his smelly little mess, what he is really doing is marking his territory--symbolically.

The deposition of urine and feces is, in fact, the dog's way of marking of territory. This is actually a well-known fact about dogs that when they pee on something, they are marking it as their territory.. but wait, there is more to that!

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A Matter of Pheromones

So, when your dog finds just the right place to perform his duty, depositing smelly urine and/or feces, he then scratches the ground around with his rear legs. What gives? Turns out, dog have special glands in their feet that secrete pheromones. Just a few backward scratches into the earth releases those chemicals. This helps your dog mark his territory.

dog paw pheromones

So by kicking back dirt your dog is actually sending a twofold message, “I was here, because you can smell and visually see the proof."

"The behavior is probably intended to leave a visual marker of fresh gouges in the soil and an additional olfactory one of the scent of fresh earth and pheromones from the feet." ~Bonnie V. G. Beaver

How to stop it?

Kicking the dirt after peeing or pooping is a natural process for the dog and it's part of his need to mark his territory, so you cannot really totally eliminate this behavior trait in him. However, if your dog is destroying your garden completely with his obsession of kicking dirt, you should fence off the yard or make it a habit to take him around the block twice or maybe thrice so he can do his business outside.

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Canine Behavior: Insights and Answers2nd Edition, by Bonnie V. Beaver, Saunders; 2nd edition (November 25, 2008)