Why Dogs Kick After Pooping

Dogs often kick their hind legs after pooping. This behavior, known as ground-scratching, is a form of communication among dogs.


Ground-scratching helps with scent dispersal. Dogs leave odors from their paw pads, spreading their scent and marking their territory.

Scent Dispersal

Ground-scratching is also a visual display for other dogs. The slashes on the ground serve as longer-lasting marks to indicate the dog’s presence.

Visual Display

Dogs of all sizes and breeds can engage in ground-scratching. It's more common in senior dogs and those in conflict with other dogs.

After Pooping

Ground-scratching often occurs along territorial boundaries. Dogs may be signaling places they frequent to let other dogs be aware of their presence.


Ground-scratching is more likely to occur during encounters with unfamiliar dogs. It may be used as an "intimidation" display toward other dogs.

Social Display

There's no need to stop your dog from kicking their feet after pooping unless they kick up a lot of dirt or grass or hurt their nails or paw pads.

Should You Stop It?

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