Have you ever observed your dog’s potty behavior and wonder what the heck are they doing? Yea me too! Almost every ritual- from spinning in circles to urinating in small amounts over a large area- has an explanation. Dogs are primal and they use their primal instincts to navigate our world. Does your dog kick back the surrounding area after she poops? Yes, mine does too and YES, there really is a reason for it!

Dogs have scent glands located in their paws. When they kick back and move around their “stuff,” they are actually marking their territory. Some of the time, they are going over a scent that was already there to say, “Hey, I’m here too!”

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Just like urinating on a specific spot, dogs release pheromones to alert other dogs in the area, claiming that spot as their own. Their paw glands have the same pheromones. Kicking in this fashion has the same effect as peeing on something.

Canines have their own method of establishing a hierarchy, like who is in charge and who isn’t. This behavior also indicates who is the alpha dog. Sometimes the alpha’s scent will be covered by a “stronger” dog that will insert his or her dominance and the hierarchy will change. Your dog may stop kicking up that area if a dominant dog has taken over that spot.

And it doesn’t matter the size or age of the dog either! A one-year-old Chihuahua can dominate a 6-year-old German Shepherd. Other animals like wolves and foxes participate in similar rituals as well where their pack hierarchy is essential to survival.

In addition to leaving their scent, some behavioral scientists believe that “lower ranking” dog kick their legs back in attempt to cover their scent so other dogs won’t smell that they’ve been there.

This behavior is completely normal and our dogs have little control over it. It can wreak havoc on your lawn. To prevent this, take your dog for long, frequent walks. They are more likely to do this ritual then.

Our dogs are our fur-babies but they still have their wild side in there too! Pretty interesting, huh? Watch the video below for more interesting info!