Dogs – Did You Know…

… Why dogs often scratch the ground after they’ve finished peeing or pooing? Dogs of both sexes commonly scratch or scrape the ground with their hind paws immediately after defecating. Some dogs also perform this action after urinating. This is a normal behavior — it’s your dog’s way of leaving a scent and visual message to other hounds that might pass by later. Wolves, the ancestors of domestic dogs, perform this behavior for the same reason.

Dogs have scent glands under their paws and in between their toes. When the dog scrapes at the ground near his fresh poop pile, the scent from these glands is transferred to the ground. Before dogs became domesticated, it was useful to mark their territory using the scent from their glands. Wild dogs, and their wolf ancestors, use this method of marking to protect territories that were too large to patrol each day.


When wolves and dogs roamed wild, they needed to warn other animals away from their territory. This was the dogs’ way of protecting their food sources, for example, the rabbits living in their territory, and also their breeding females. You might think that the dog’s feces is sufficiently pungent to warn off competing animals, but much of the scent is lost once the feces dries out. The scent from the dog’s feet glands is more enduring. Additionally, the long and deep scrape marks left by the dog’s paws and claws let other dogs know that your dog is strong and powerful.

19 thoughts on “Dogs – Did You Know…

  1. Interesting isn’t it how our canine friends mark their territory. Maggie does it, and if she finds the scent of another’s wee, she’ll wee on top. We’ve seen a battle of the wees between her and a friend’s dog, taking it in turns to pee on the same spot within seconds of each other again and again. The poor patch of grass didn’t stand a chance!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So fascinating. My city dog doesn’t do this but it takes her forever to “find her spot”. As soon as she’s done with her business she happily darts off, while still attached to her leash. She has no idea that it’s just gonna be scooped into a bag and placed in the trash can. All that work for nothing!

    Liked by 1 person

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