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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 ways 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.

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. Dogs are not cats and they therefore adhere to different behaviors. While cats are quite secretive, introvert beings trying to maintain a low profile by covering their pee and poop as if hiding their existence, dogs on the other hand, are quite the extroverts in the pee and poop department. 

Turns out, 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. Opposite to cats covering up their messes (other than tom cats who do urine mark), dogs intently leave behind pee and poop and all its relevant information just so other dogs or animals can know that "Rover was here." 

This is actually a well-known fact about dogs. Pee and poop is fascinating among dogs. Dogs indeed, intently search specific items to pee on and show a preference for vertical items such as bushes, fire hydrants and lampposts, for the simple fact that these allow them to leave their pee-mail at another dog's nose level. But wait, there is more to that!

Dogs kick back dirt after pooping for a variety of reasons.

Dogs kick back dirt after pooping for a variety of reasons.

A Matter of Pheromones

So we now know that dogs use their pee and poop as business cards, but what about dogs who after performing their duties, scratch the ground around with their rear legs. What's up with these fellows?

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 Turns out, dogs have a good reason to kick dirt after pooping and it has to do with their paws. 

Dogs are equipped with special glands in their feet that secrete pheromones. Just a few backward scratches into the earth releases those chemicals which are ready to be detected by other dogs who happen to visit the area.

So by kicking back dirt your dog is actually sending a twofold message, “I was here, and 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

Now That You Know...

As seen, 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 and deposit information for other dogs to collect.

Asa natural, instinctive behavior, 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, your best bet is to simply fence off the yard.

Alternatively, you can make it a habit to take him around the block for a pleasant walk several times a day so that he can do his business outside.


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

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