Most people with a dog will quickly realize that canines display some slightly strange behaviors when they go to the toilet. You’d be forgiven for assuming that your dog is terrified of his or her excrement by the fact that they often take off like a bat out of hell the moment they’ve finished a bowel movement – but the truth is quite the opposite!
Most of the time, a dog that hares off into the sunset after blessing the earth with their poop isn’t trying to get away from the evidence. Instead, they are engaging in a fairly extreme form of marking. While your dog’s anal glands still carry the scent of their waste, they are keen to claim as much of their park or backyard as territory while they still can.
Naturally, it’s not always as simple as this – nothing that involves dog psychology ever is easy to understand. This article will talk you through the varied behaviors that a dog may exhibit where their bathroom breaks are concerned.
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My Dog Freaks Out After Pooping
Once a dog has finished pooping, they don’t flush a toilet, wash their paws and hope that nobody noticed them before wandering into the bathroom holding a copy of Cosmopolitan.
Instead, they get a nose filled with the smell – and they are often determined to share that aroma with all and sundry. The easiest way of doing this is to race laps around the area they have just pooped in, making as many circuits as they can before the smell dissolves. It’s a calling card for other dogs in the area to come to find your dog and to claim everything as their territory.
There are potentially other reasons for this though, as explained by Cuteness.
Some of the possible explanations include:
- Relief. If your dog has been holding their poop for a long time, it’s going to feel great when they release it. This could be a victory lap to celebrate their freedom.
- They’re expecting a treat. If your dog or puppy has recently completed toilet training, they might be anticipating a treat for a job well done – and they’re racing around in excitement.
- They’re not quite done. It’s not just Captain Kirk that has to worry about Klingons – dogs with long fur do too. Running around may shake loose these unwelcome hangers-on.
As we have said, racing around after taking a poop is nothing special or unique to your dog, especially if they calm down afterward. As long as your dog does not display any signs of aggression or physical discomfort, leave them to it. It will be advisable to aim to get them onto a comfort break schedule, however, as this way you will be able to ensure that they are in suitable surroundings for this burst of energy.
My Dog Runs Away While Pooping
If your dog seems determined to impersonate Usain Bolt while they are still halfway through the process of pooping, it’s usually a matter of impatience. They are keen to engage in any of the celebratory reasons listed above, and they can’t wait for the appropriate moment to do so.
A dog seemingly scared of their poop and running away from it is quite funny to watch. The same applies if a canine engages in a fecal tornado, spinning around on the spot. The only trouble is it means that they’ll be leaving a trail of poopy destruction in their wake, and it will be your responsibility to hunt all of that down and clean it up. That may be when the laughter stops.
Try to keep your dog calm while they do their business by offering soft, reassuring vocal commands – “good boy” or “good girl” will usually do the trick. Don’t try to physically restrain your pet though, as this could lead to a negative thought process surrounding elimination.
My Dog Goes Crazy Before Pooping
All dogs have a different relationship with their need to poop and will react in different ways. Some dogs announce their need to go to their owners by barking, growling and generally making a fuss until they have been leashed up and taken to the park. Others will sit quietly by the front door, looking a little jittery and waiting for you to notice so you can take them. Other still will be wholly indifferent and do what needs to be done when they’re out for a walk anyway.
A whole new sub-section of poop-centric behavior is seen in some dogs, but especially puppies – going crazy and charging around the house like an over-caffeinated bumblebee. This is perfectly normal behavior in puppies, and nothing to worry about or call the vet. It’s a useful way of getting an unmistakable warning that your dog needs to be taken out to use the bathroom.
Vet Street also discuss the phenomenon known as ‘the poop dance,’ which usually revolves around hopping from foot to foot and rushing around in a circle, similar to when they’re chasing their tail. Also like chasing their tail, this is nothing to worry about as long as the behavior stops after the poop. It’s just a matter of picking the perfect spot and making sure that everything is just right. Dogs usually aren’t crazy about pooping in public, and they’re not likely to use the first place they come across unless they are desperate.
My Dog Seems to be Scared of Pooping
Some dogs seem to have a strange aversion to pooping. Again, it’s something that we may not necessarily be able to understand as humans – after all, surely it’s uncomfortable to carry that waste around unnecessarily? But your pet will have their reasons.
Some of the possible explanations for a dog being reluctant to eliminate include:
- Your dog had an accident in the house and got into trouble. Now they think all elimination is bad.
- Your dog is scared to go outside – either they are afraid of the weather conditions or loud noises such as fireworks, or there is another dog out there that intimidates them.
- Your dog is constipated.
- Your dog is unwell in some other way, and a bowel movement is painful for them.
If any of these situations apply to your dog, there are steps that you can take to make things better.
- Never punish your dog for toilet-related accidents This will lead to confusion.
- Use treats and training to encourage your dog to step outside when the weather is unwelcoming – they’ll have to do it eventually! You’ll find more information in our guide on how to get your dog to go out in the rain.
- Finally, get your dog checked out by a vet. The most likely explanation for reluctance or inability to poop is swollen or infected anal glands, which can be dealt with by a professional – or yourself if you’re feeling confident and have a strong stomach. The Canine Journal has a how-to guide on expressing your dog’s anal glands.
A dog that is scared to poop is a very uncomfortable dog, so do whatever it takes to get them over this psychological hurdle – it will be no fun at all for a poor pooch to live in fear of emptying their bowels.
My Dog Stares at Me While Pooping
This is another dog behavior that humans find utterly baffling – and, in many cases, a little unsettling. Surely emptying out bowels should be a private experience and one that requires a little privacy? If your partner or spouse called you into the bathroom to watch while they did their business you’d probably have some dire questions to ask of them.
When we filter this action through a dog brain, however, it starts to make a lot more sense.
Stop and put yourself in Fido’s metaphorical shoes for a moment, breaking down the experience as follows:
- Dog’s don’t have a bathroom to do their business in.
- This means that they don’t have a door to close, and any privacy.
- No privacy means they have no protection from a predator.
- As discussed earlier, pooping is a stationary activity.
- Should somebody or something with less than honorable intention approach your pet, they can’t protect themselves.
Do you see where we’re going with this? Your dog is staring at you while they take care of their business because they’re saying, “you better have my back here, pal – I’m trusting you.”
If it’s any consolation, you may notice your dog returning the compliment and following you into the bathroom. A sweet gesture, but ultimately one that we could all do without!
My Dog Licks Its Butt After Pooping Then Tries to Lick My Face
Dogs like to be clean, and last we checked, there was no such thing as canine toilet paper in the average park. Dogs clean and wash themselves using their tongues, and they express their affection for their beloved humans with the same organ.
Dogs have very short-term memories, and they don’t necessarily link two states of affairs together. They don’t understand the fact that they peed in the house, then got in trouble when you came home an hour later. They don’t connect that if they do what you ask of them during training, they receive a treat if it doesn’t follow almost immediately. And, yep, they don’t grasp that licking their behind isn’t the most appealing preparation for smothering you with kisses.
If you’re keen to avoid this, you’ll have to be consistent and prevent your dog from ever licking your face. Some may consider this to be sound advice anyway, given that canine mouths can be breeding grounds for bacteria if their oral health isn’t up to snuff. One thing is for sure – your dog cannot be expected not to clean himself or herself up after they have pooped.
If you need to coach your canine out of licking your face, take a look at our guide to how to calm an overexcited dog naturally and consider using some of the techniques found within.
My Dog Keeps Burying Its Poop
We’re not sure if you have ever noticed this, but dog poop tends to smell a little potent. We can typically detect a pile of doody from many paces, so imagine how powerful that aroma can be for a canine, who enjoys a sense of smell roughly 40 times better than the average human.
Every poop smells different to a dog – and an interested hound will be able to identify a dog by their waste, just like they can through urine. If your dog is determined to bury their poop, it suggests that they are intimidated and do not want to be detected by other dogs.
It could be worse, though – some dogs eat their feces in a condition known as coprophagia. If you have noticed your dog developing this habit, check out our guide on how to stop your dog from eating poop naturally.
Dealing with poop is something of a rite of passage for many new dog owners, who need to come to terms with the fact that they’re now responsible for another living creature’s waste.
It pays off to learn about your dog’s relationship with their bowel movements, as not only will you want to get them onto a schedule, they can often reveal the secrets of your pet’s health. It may not be the most glamorous side of dog ownership, but it’s one of the most crucial.