Why Does My Dog Run Around After Pooping?

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Dogs have many bathroom rituals that are perplexing to us, but are important to them. Some dogs circle before urinating or defecating. Some dogs scratch the ground after pooping, while others go absolutely nuts after they poop.

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If your dog does this, you've probably spent a fair amount of time wondering why. The somewhat disappointing answer is that we don't know for sure — there is very little research into the subject. However, we have a few working theories as to why some dogs perform this hilarious ritual.


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Running feels good: Sometimes the answer lies in the simplest explanation. Your dog might run around because she feels relieved after pooping, especially if she's been holding it in for a while.

Your dog has been rewarded for running in the past: Many owners use positive reinforcement, including treats, to house train their dogs. If your dog has been rewarded (with treats, toys, or praise) for pooping in the past, she might have a positive association with the act and get excited afterward. (This is the most adorable theory, in my personal opinion.)


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Running removes dingleberries: This theory is decidedly less cute than the previous one. If you've lived this long without knowing what a dingleberry is, consider yourself lucky. A dingleberry is a piece of fecal matter that gets stuck to a dog's butt area. They're more common in long-haired dogs, for obvious reasons.


WOOF: How Does A Dog Decide Where To Poop?

Running around after pooping might help get rid of any dingleberries that may be hanging around in your dog's hair. If your dog does this successfully and spares you the honor of having to grab dingleberries yourself, give her an extra huge treat.


Marking her territory: many of dogs' elaborate pooping rituals are associated with marking territory. Dogs have scent glands on their paw pads, and running around may help distribute their scent in the area where they've just defecated. Leaving their scent on an area tells other dogs that your dog has "claimed" this territory. This act is fairly useless in the life of a modern domestic dog, but try telling them that.


Dogs are weird, and they have many behaviors that we still don't fully understand. But if there's any chance your dog is sparing you from having to interact with dingleberries, be grateful.


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