Why do dogs kick their legs after they poop?

Dog kicking legs

Dogs are special animals with remarkable habits. Perhaps you have a dog yourself and regularly see it running after its tail, rolling in the grass or barking at its reflection, but of course there are many other crazy examples. For example, in this article we focus on another curious habit, namely: kicking their paws after they poop.

All dogs do it, regardless of their background, size or age. Perhaps a strange sight to you or maybe you have never noticed it before, but it is extremely common and you will notice it when you start paying attention. But why do dogs kick their paws after they poop? Be sure to read on, because in this article we’ll be happy to tell you more about it.


Is this behavior normal?

Before we continue with this article, we want to point out that paw kicking after pooping is very normal! Probably a reassurance, so there is nothing wrong with this behavior. It makes for a silly sight and some dogs look funnier than others, but it is not dangerous or anything like that. Of course, it is possible that a dog hurts himself on the surface, but fortunately this is hardly ever the case, since they often do it on grass or other ‘paw-friendly’ surfaces.

For you as the owner, it can of course be annoying that the dog does this, since it can damage the ground on which the act is performed. To what extent the ground is damaged depends of course on the dog. Again, some dogs kick more often than others and large dogs are likely to kick harder than small dogs. In short; large dogs are likely to cause more chaos than small dogs. It is annoying for your own ground, but can anything be done about this behavior?


Can this habit be corrected?

The big question in this one is whether paw kicking after pooping can be prevented. Whether you want to do this because of ruining your ground or because your dog might hurt his paws, it doesn’t matter. The answer to the question is yes, the behavior can be corrected. However, this does not happen overnight. It takes time.

Many behaviors are unlearned through training. So is kicking the paws after defecating. Important to remember is the way you approach and execute the training. Make sure you are always positive and correct them in a positive way. Repetition is the key to success here. There are several ways to teach your dog to unlearn something, but it makes sense to do so by using rewards. Keep a close eye on your dog and distract him when he intends to kick. In particular, look for distractions: use a toy or reward your dog when he does something good.

Puppy pooping

What is causing this behavior?

If you want to unlearn something from your dog, it is important to understand him better. By understanding the reason for the habit, it may be easier to unlearn it. In addition, you should consider whether you really want to unlearn it. Dogs do not exhibit behavior for no reason, perhaps it is very important to your dog. As mentioned earlier, there is not one reason, but there are several reasons why dogs kick after they have pooped. In the remainder of this article, some of the reasons are explained in more detail


Defining territory

The first reason is that dogs want to mark their territory. You probably recognize that your dog sniffs at many trees, bushes or other objects. He then smells the scent of another dog. That particular dog has marked out his territory by peeing there, for example. Dogs mark their territory by means of scent and they spread this scent for example through their paws, but also through their body odor.

The so-called “pheromones”, which come from the glands between the dog’s paw, secrete this smell. Furthermore, they spread in this way through sand also the smell of their droppings. By kicking the dog also leaves behind markings, which also indicate his presence. So, this also contributes to demarcation. The dog shows by all this clearly that it is his area.


Visual Communication

When dogs kick their paws after pooping, they not only let other dogs know of their presence by scent, but also send a visual message. The scratched surface makes other dogs aware that a canine companion has been nearby. In addition, if a dog sees another dog kicking its paws after pooping, that is also a visual way of marking territory. It is said that many dogs will kick their paws after pooping if there are other dogs around to see them do so.