A Daily Ritual
We’re often baffled by the way dogs behave, but most pet owners would love to understand their pooches a little more. That’s why people like Casar Millan, aka, the Dog Whisperer, are so popular. But there´s one doggy routine that not even Millan could figure out…but now we can.
When you own a dog, you have to take him out to the yard or a walk around the park so they can go number 1 or 2. But notice how he sniffs, walks around a bit before crouching down and taking a dump? Then he uses his back paws to step and kick the grass and dirt. You might think you know why he does this, but you’re probably way off.
Is He Covering It Up?
People often assume that dogs are covering up their business the way cats do. But the reason cats do this is so that they can hide their scent from a potential predator. It’s an inherited self-preservation trait from their ancestors. But dogs, on the other hand, have a completely opposite reason for doing this, and it too is embedded into every fiber of their being.
Are They Cleaning?
Maybe dogs prefer to wipe their paws after stepping in it, the way we wash our hands after pooping. Then again, dogs aren’t known for being neat freaks. But their paws do repel dirt. In fact, a dog’s paws are so insulated, that water and other things aren’t absorbed through them. They also protect doggies from freezing temperatures. But if your dog is just being weird, then every dog is too.
Are They Just Being Odd Balls?
If you own several dogs or go to a doggy park, you’ll notice that this behavior isn’t limited to your dog along. As a matter of fact, all dogs do it, from German shepherds to chihuahuas, and it doesn’t matter what gender they are either. Until now, not many people could figure out the source of their actions, but expects have finally figured it out.
The Fascinating Complexities
People rarely use the words complex and fascinating to identify dogs, mostly because to us, they’re just an extra member of the family. But we fail to realize that they’re not like us, and have their own unique behaviors and natural instincts. So, their wild instinct remains in their DNA despite having been man’s best friend for thousands of years.
Their Ancestral Roots
Some dog species have descended from wolves, so some of the conducts and instincts have remained a part of them. Some of these behaviors include, establishing dominance, being an alpha, and forming a pack, all of which are remnants of their wild ancestral behavior. These functions are part of a hierarchy mentality, and their odd kick at the ground after pooping is a part of it.
Why They Need A Pack
Live wolves, dogs rely on a hierarchy to remain sociable. Without this order, packs would be in constant chaos. Leadership actually helps clear up confusion and instability, and orders the pack so they can take clear action when deciding where and when to hunt for food and when to eat. So, while dogs don’t travel in packs, the mentality remains strong in their behavior.
It Starts At The Beginning
Even domestic dogs are born with pack-forming instincts. Even when they’re still pups, they test these instincts out in the litter, but their mommies will reinforce these traits too. But once a dog gets separated from its family, a dog’s human friends become their pack, as do other pets. This means their territory is your house, and that’s when the ground kicking comes into play.
They’re Being Dominant
By kicking their feet after going number 2, they let other pooches nearby that he’s literally top dog. It’s their way of marking their territory and pulling rank on all other dogs. But you’re probably asking yourself how they accomplish this by kicking, especially when no other dogs are in the area. And the answer to that is simple: it’s about pheromones.
Release The Pheromones
A dog’s paws contain glands that release chemicals called pheromones. These pheromones can send other animals a clear message through smell. In this particular instance, by kicking, the message is clear: “I’m the boss around here.” The moment their paws hit the ground, pheromones are released, marking their territory, and there’s an even bigger advantage to this.
Spread The Scent
Once your pooch rubs his paws on the ground, they’ll kick dirt and grass in order to ensure that the pheromones are spread further across the area. In effect, the borders of the marked territory will increase, so no other dog dares to intrude. But some dogs aren’t easily repelled by these pheromones.
Commandeering A Territory
It’s unavoidable! A dog will tread into another dog’s marked territory to poop. And if the dog’s pheromones are more powerful than the previous dog, they dethrone them and become the new rulers of that area. The previous dog will then stop kicking. But there are scarier reasons why some dogs might stop kicking.
Beware Of The Changes
If your dog’s pooping/kicking habit starts to take a more erratic pattern, then you should see a veterinarian right away. Paw rubbing can also be a sign of arthritis or could signal that a dog’s paw has been injured. But as bad as these behavioral changes can be for your dog, they’re nothing compared to what will happen to your front or back lawn.
They Wreck Lawns
While some dogs perform this daily pooping routine without barely kicking up any dirt, others tend to get really into it. This means they’ll use their claws to uproot grassy areas. So, you could find your lawn completely wrecked, and if you’ve worked hard to make your yard look presentable, this could drive you up the walls. But you can reduce the damage and keep your dog from wrecking your lawn by doing the following.
Take Your Dog For A Walk
Any vet will tell you that taking your dog for a long walk on a daily basis after they’ve eaten is key. That way, your dog can kick up as much grass in public without damaging your lawn. It also lets your pooch adhere to its honed instinct and establish dominance. But don’t forget to clean up after he’s done doing this business.