Have you ever wondered Why Do Dogs’ Back Legs Scratch the Ground After Pooping? Usually, doggies do the potty dance for the following reasons:
- Marking territory
- Appeasing their owner
- Showing they are the alpha dog
- Demanding respect from pack members
Dogs have many odd habits. For example, (sometimes, in this exact order). Still, I have always wondered.
Over the years, I have had many different pooches, and each had its own personality and rituals. Yet, I couldn’t figure out why some of my fluffy companions would potty dance, while others never bothered doing it. As a result, I started asking myself whether ground scratching in dogs is normal or not. I needed to know which of my pooches needed help — the potty dancers or the poopers and goers.
I found many astonishing facts about dogs and ground scraping. Most importantly, however, if you too are curious to learn more, read on.
Ground-Scratching Behavior Is Common in Many Animals
For instance, foxes, wolves but Cats, on the other hand, dig in the ground to hide their feces. Even in the past, felines scraped after going potty to hide their traces. By doing so, they could easily sneak in on their prey.
As you can see, while some animals potty dance to announce their presence, others do it to stay hidden. The question is? Are canines neat freaks like cats or territorial mammals like wolves? The answer may surprise you!
Usually, there is not one, but several reasons your pooch may be ground scratching after doing its business. Still, the common thing between most of them is that they are triggered by the doggy’s natural instincts.
Like wolves, dogs mark their territory, especially when they are in an unfamiliar area. However, unlike their predecessors. Instead, they are only trying to announce their presence to other dogs.
Also, contrary to popular belief, doggies are not using the smell of their feces to mark their territory. In fact, that would make little sense.
So, They release pheromones that have a lingering smell. Of course, our human noses are not able to detect this scent, but other dogs can sense it from afar.
Appeasing an Angry Owner
In contrast to cats, dogs don’t try to bury their poop because it’s simply not in their nature. However, in some cases, a pooch may scratch the ground to cover up its mess. Usually, it does that to make its owner happy.
For example, have you ever become angry at your furry buddy for going potty at the wrong spot? If yes, your dog may still have a vivid memory of this incident and your reaction. So, to avoid the same scenario, it may try hiding its poop even if it has not committed “an offense.”
Alpha Dog Behavior
If you have several doggies, you may notice that one of them is a more passionate potty dancer than the others. Such behavior is typical for the alpha dog in the pack. For the most part, these are male pooches. However, do keep in mind that a pack can also have an alpha female.
Usually, alphas stand out with their leadership qualities. Also, they have the respect of the other members of their pack.
From my experience, Therefore, it’s all about the dog’s attitude and personality rather than its size.
New Pup in the Pack
When you get a new puppy, you always hope that your other pooches will accept it. Interestingly, the pup wants the same thing. What’s more, sometimes, it may even take matters into its own paws to ensure that it fits in the pack.
Potty dancing is a great way for newcomers to announce their arrival. By scratching the ground after pooping, your new puppy introduces itself to other dogs. At the same time, the behavior also sends out the message, “Don’t mess with me.” If the pup’s introduction is impressive enough, it may even become the new alpha of the pack.
Like humans, some dogs are shier and more introverted than others. If you have such a pooch, maybe you have noticed that it’s not quite social towards other people or doggies.
Personally, I have had just one such fluffy companion. What I noticed about it was that it potty danced only when we went for a walk outside our neighborhood. So, that was one of the first times I wondered.
Later, I found out that insecure canines use ground scratching as a calming technique. By spreading their scent in an unknown environment, they try to create a safe space for themselves. Being able to smell their own pheromones makes them feel calmer and in control of the situation.
Should You Be Worried If Your Dog Is Not Doing the Potty Dance?
Now you know the answer to the question. Yet, you may be wondering, Why does my dog does NOT do the potty dance?
As I mentioned, ground scratching after defecation is an instinct that all doggies have. So, does this mean that your pooch has a problem if it doesn’t exhibit this behavior?
If your furry friend has never been a big fan of the potty dance, you have no reason to worry. Although scraping after pooping is a normal dog habit, it’s not as common as many people think it is. According to researchers, only 10% of canines ground scratch after defecating or urinating. Therefore, your pooch may simply be part of the remaining 90%.
The problem arises when a frequent potty dancer suddenly stops exhibiting this behavior. Usually, such a change suggests the dog has a medical problem like an injury, arthritis, or even a tumor. Therefore, you may want to take your pup to the vet’s office for a medical evaluation.
The Problem With Doggies’ Ground-Scratching Behavior
Although potty dancing is a completely harmless dog instinct, it can ruin your pretty lawn. If your pooch is regularly scraping the ground after defecating, your garden can easily become covered in holes. So, to save their landscape, some dog owners try to “untrain” their doggy’s ground-scraping behavior.
If you, too, are annoyed by your pooch’s potty dancing habit, I’d recommend using a different strategy. Instead of getting angry at your pup or interrupting it when it’s scraping your lawn, let it do its thing. After all, this behavior is in its nature. So, demanding your fluffy friend to stop ground scraping is as if telling it to stop being a dog.
Fortunately, there are ways to save your yard. For starters, take your pooch for walks more frequently so that it can practice potty dancing elsewhere.
Whatever you choose to do, don’t get angry at your potty dancer. Lashing out at your doggy will only make it feel scared, confused, and vulnerable.
I hope I managed to answer the question? While this behavior may be annoying, it’s natural for doggies. Therefore, you need to accept it even if that means having a lawn covered in holes.