Dogs have many seemingly odd behaviors, and one of these oddities is the kicking of grass or dirt after they poop. This is just normal behavior for dogs, and is not unique to your pooch (if that is what you were wondering).

The most likely answer that you might get from someone if you ask the question, “Why does my dog kick after she poops?”, is that the behavior is meant to cover the waste; however, the kicking is more than just an alternative to scooping up the poop.

It is worth nothing that dogs will also do the kick after they urinate, and not only after going a number two.

With the above answer being the most common response the question at hand, the thought that might arise is if the kicking is meant to cover the waste, then why is it that dogs only kick once or twice (or maybe just a few times) with almost never covering up most (or even any) of the waste? The reason for this disconnect is that there is more than one reason why dogs kick when they have finished their business.

Dogs Kick to Mark Their Territory

We have all seen the marking of territory by dogs whenever we take our pals on walks—a little pee here, and little pee there. They love marking up the whole neighborhood, but that is not the only way dogs mark territory.

Even though the depositing of waste is a means of territory demarcation, it is often accompanied by the kicking of dirt or grass once the urination or defecation is complete. Dogs have glands on their feet which are designed for secreting pheromones, and the backward scratching/kicking is a means of releasing those pheromones as a further means marking their territory. It is a means of double-marking, by not only leaving a trace by urine or stool, but also leaving behind a calling card through the release of pheromones.

This behavior has carried over from the time when dogs roamed the wild, and needed to send clear signals to other that might want to encroach on their territory. Additionally, the scrape marks left by their ancestors in the wild sent a tertiary signal about their size and strength.

Signs of Poor Health

Generally, any change from a dog’s routine or normal behavior can (and often is) a sign of poor health. It is no different in this case. If your dog has the habit of kicking after going to the bathroom, but suddenly (or gradually) stops doing so, it may be indicative of some kind of discomfort triggered by movement. You would normally notice reduced mobility. If you note such a development in your dog’s behavior, it is recommended that you consult a veterinarian to rule out problems or treat any issues that might be present.