Why Do Dogs Kick The Ground After They Poop?

Apr 16, 2024

When you take your dog out for a walk, you may have noticed that they often kick the ground after they finish pooping. While this may seem like a strange behavior, there are several reasons why dogs do this

Also, it's important to note that not all dogs exhibit this behavior, so don't be worried if your furry friend doesn't do it. In this article, we will explore the possible reasons behind why dogs kick the ground after pooping and discuss if there is any cause for concern.

What Is Ground Kicking?

Ground kicking, also known as "scraping" or "scratching," is a common behavior among dogs. It refers to the action of using their back legs to kick or scrape the ground after they have finished pooping. This can range from gentle scratches to vigorous digging and kicking.

While it may seem like a random gesture, ground kicking serves several purposes for dogs. One reason is that it helps them to spread their scent and mark their territory. By scratching the ground, dogs release pheromones from their paw pads which can help other dogs identify who has been in the area.

Additionally, kicking the ground may also be a way for dogs to cover up their poop and hide their presence from potential predators or rivals. It could also be a way for them to mark their territory by covering up the scents of other dogs that may have been in the same spot.

Possible Reasons For Ground Kicking

Possible Reasons For Ground Kicking

There are several possible reasons why dogs engage in ground kicking after they poop. These reasons can vary depending on the individual dog and their specific behaviors. Here are some of the most common explanations for this behavior:

Instinctual Behavior

One possible reason for ground kicking is that it is an instinctual behavior for dogs. In the wild, dogs would often need to mark their territory and cover up their scents to protect themselves from predators and claim their territory.

Even though domesticated dogs may not have the same survival needs as wild dogs, they still retain many of these instincts. This could explain why dogs who have never been in the wild still exhibit this behavior.

Also, it's worth noting that dogs are creatures of routine and habit. If they have learned to associate the act of pooping with kicking afterward, they may continue to do so out of habit.

Territory Marking

As mentioned earlier, ground kicking is a way for dogs to spread their scent and mark their territory. This behavior is ubiquitous among male dogs who are more territorial than females. By kicking the ground, they are releasing their pheromones and letting other dogs know that this is their territory.

Additionally, if a dog encounters another dog's feces while out on a walk, they may feel the need to mark over it by kicking the ground afterward. This is also a way for them to assert their dominance over the area.

Plus, dogs have a keen sense of smell and can detect other dog's scents even after the poop has been removed. Kicking the ground may be their way of ensuring that their scent remains dominant in the area.

Covering Up Scents

Another possible reason for ground kicking is that it helps to cover up the scent of their feces. This can be especially important for dogs in the wild who need to hide their presence from potential predators.

But even domesticated dogs may still have this instinctual behavior, as it helps them feel more secure and protected. By kicking the ground, they can disperse their scent over a larger area and make it less noticeable to other animals.

Muscle Stimulation

In addition to instinctual and territorial reasons, ground kicking may also serve a physical purpose for dogs. As they use their back legs to kick the ground, it helps to stimulate and tone their leg muscles.

This is especially important for older dogs or those who may have joint issues. By kicking the ground, they can maintain muscle strength and flexibility in their legs.

Expressing Excitement Or Relief

Finally, some dogs may kick the ground after pooping as a way to express excitement or relief. This behavior can often be seen in puppies who are still learning how to control their bodily functions.

After holding in their poop for too long, they may feel a sense of relief and joy when they finally get to go. Their excitement can manifest in a little dance or kick afterward.

Additionally, if your dog is feeling particularly happy or energetic during their walk, they may also kick the ground as a way to release some of that energy.

Should You Be Concerned?

In most cases, ground kicking after pooping is completely normal and nothing to be concerned about. However, if you notice that your dog is excessively kicking or digging up the ground after every poop, it may be a sign of a behavior issue.

This could indicate that your dog is feeling anxious or stressed while on walks, or they may have developed an obsessive-compulsive behavior. If you are concerned about your dog's excessive ground kicking, it's best to consult with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist for advice.

Also, keep an eye out for any changes in your dog's behavior or physical health. If they suddenly start kicking the ground after pooping when they never did before, it could be a sign of a medical issue such as arthritis or allergies.

Plus, be mindful of where your dog is kicking the ground. If they are doing it in public areas such as parks or sidewalks, make sure to clean up after them to avoid spreading any potential bacteria or parasites.

Does Your Dog Need Help?

Does Your Dog Need Help?

If your dog's ground-kicking behavior is not causing any problems and seems to be within normal limits, there's no need to intervene or try to stop it. It is a natural behavior for dogs and can even have benefits such as muscle stimulation.

However, if you feel that your dog's ground kicking is excessive or becoming a nuisance, there are some things you can do to help redirect this behavior. You can try teaching them an alternative behavior such as sitting or giving them a treat after they poop to distract them from kicking.

Also, providing your dog with regular exercise and mental stimulation can help reduce any anxious or obsessive tendencies that may be causing excessive ground kicking. And as always, consult with a professional if you have any concerns about your dog's behavior. 

Plus, make sure to give your dog plenty of love and attention. A happy and well-loved dog is less likely to exhibit any problematic behaviors. So embrace their quirkiness and enjoy watching them kick up some dirt after doing their business!

Mistakes To Avoid

When trying to redirect your dog's ground-kicking behavior, it's important to avoid certain mistakes that could potentially worsen the problem. These include scolding or punishing your dog for their natural instinctual behavior.

Instead, try using positive reinforcement techniques such as rewards and praise when they display calm behavior after pooping. This will help reinforce the desired behavior and make them more likely to repeat it.

Additionally, avoid forcing your dog to stop ground kicking altogether as this can create more stress and anxiety for them. Instead, focus on providing alternative outlets for their energy such as walks, playtime, and mental stimulation.

It's also important to be patient with your dog and understand that changing behaviors takes time and consistency. Don't get frustrated if your dog continues to kick the ground after pooping, and instead, focus on consistently reinforcing positive behavior. With love, patience, and understanding, you can work together with your furry friend to redirect their ground positively kicking habits.


Are There Any Health Concerns Associated With Ground Kicking After Pooping?

There are generally no health concerns associated with this behavior. However, if you notice changes in your dog's behavior or physical health, it's best to consult with a veterinarian.

Can I Train My Dog To Stop Ground Kicking After Pooping?

While it may be possible to redirect their behavior, it is important to understand that ground kicking is an instinct for dogs. It's best to focus on positive reinforcement and providing alternative outlets for their energy rather than trying to eliminate the behavior.

My Dog Only Kicks The Ground After Pooping In Certain Areas, Why?

This could be due to territorial or instinctual reasons. Your dog may feel more comfortable spreading their scent in familiar or frequented areas. It could also be a sign of anxiety or stress in new environments. Observe your dog's behavior and consult with a professional if you have concerns. 


Ground kicking after pooping is a common and natural behavior for dogs. It can have various reasons behind it, including scent-marking, muscle stimulation, excitement, or relief. As responsible pet owners, it's important to understand and embrace our dog's behaviors.

However, if your dog's ground kicking becomes excessive or problematic, it's best to seek advice from a professional instead of punishing or forcing them to stop. With love, patience, and proper training techniques, we can work together with our furry companions to redirect their behavior positively. So next time you see your dog kicking up some dirt after pooping, just smile and know that they are simply being a happy and content canine!

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