Most People Don’t Know The Real Reason Dogs Kick Their Legs After Going Number 2, Here’s Why

Updated December 16, 2017

I noticed that my family dog kicked his hind legs after taking a poop when I was very young. It didn’t matter where the dog was. He would kick his legs back and scruff up the grass and dirt behind him every time he went and did his business. Even as a child, it was apparent that he was doing this out of instinct. While many people believe that this is just strange dog behavior, the true reason pups kick up the dust after going number two may surprise you.

They do not do it to cover up their poo or to wipe down their paws. They’re actually an evolutionary logic behind this habit. And it has nothing to do with wiping up after a mess.

Dogs have glands in their paws. When they scratch the ground, they release pheromones. These scent hormones mark the land with each dog’s unique “territorial scent.” They stop to kick back their paws to let the other dogs in the neighborhood know that they’ve “claimed” this area and no one better mess with it.

Canines use this territorial behavior to establish a hierarchy that determines who is in charge of each territory. While it might only seem like a plot of grass in the park to you, dogs take their business much more seriously. This is why they urinate on objects and go number two where they can get the most attention. They want their personal scent to be prominent in the territory.

And when dogs release their pheromones through the bottoms of their paws, they’re telling all the other dogs they mean business.

Dogs of all sizes do this behavior. It doesn’t matter if it is a tiny dog like a toy Chihuahua or a big guy like a Great Dane. They’ll all happily kick back their hind legs after going to the bathroom to make sure all other canines in the area know that that was their spot. Both female and male dogs enjoy this behavior. They want their scent to be all over the place.

If a more dominant dog has scratched an area over another dog’s scent, the subservient dog may stop doing this action in that area after going to the bathroom. It truly is an interesting practice that is more complicated than we’d imagine.

Backward kicking is a practice conducted by all types of canines, not just domesticated dogs. Wolves, foxes, and dingoes also kick back after going to the bathroom to mark their territory.

While this doggy behavior is normal, it can destroy your lawn. The best way to prevent your front lawn from getting scratched up is to take your dog on walks in parks and out away from your property. Then they’ll be scratching up public land where it doesn’t much matter.

To us humans, the back scratching dogs perform after going number two might seem like a strange habit, but to these dogs, it is vital to claim their territory. And they’ll do whatever it takes to make sure they’re still at the top of the scent ladder.