Have you ever noticed how your furry friend usually covers his pee while outside? When taking your dog out to do their business, you may notice some pretty unusual stuff. But however unusual this may seem to you as the owner, dogs come with a strong territorial perception which dictates most of their so-called uncommon behavior.
If you’re wondering what makes him behave in such a way, keep on reading. We’ve put together some of the most well-known reasons that cause your pup to act this way and what you can do about it. So let’s begin.
The Root of the Behavior
The most frequent assumption is that dogs will generally cover their pee as part of their natural behavior. It’s a primal instinct that goes back to their ancestors, the wolves, which they used to cover up their scents. When a dog covers his pee, it’s usually because he wants to avoid being found by his enemies. We’ve seen this many times before and this is a factor that greatly influences a lot of their behaviors. Protection against predators is a very strong natural instinct. Dogs follow in the steps of their ancestors by covering up their waste in leaves, sticks, soil, or other natural materials. Apart from misguiding other dogs, your pup may also cover his pee as a way to mark the territory. Furthermore, your doggie may be kicking and scratching the ground after doing their business, to enhance their…eliminations. It’s all about communicating their message to other animals in the area. This is because their paw pads contain scent glands that secrete pheromones. While your dog is scraping and scratching, his paw pads release their scent into the ground to claim the territory as their own.
Look at it as a warning sign that your dog sends to other animals. They want to make their presence known and show other dogs that they’ve been there. To put it simply, your dog covers his pee because he wants to cover his tracks, but at the same time, he wants to enhance them. Yes, as confusing as it may sound, let’s just say it makes perfect sense to them. And it’s not just your dog who does this. Cats, wolves, foxes, and dingoes also tend to scratch and cover after doing their business. It’s all part of a routine and ritual with them. Even before they start peeing, you will sometimes see your dog go around in circles before settling down for business.
Encouraging the Behavior
Instead of startling your puppy when he starts to cover his pee, why not acknowledge that it’s all part of his natural instinct and let him do it his way. Even if it feels like the opposite of how you would normally respond, think about the fact that this behavior is an evolutionary response that has little to do with annoying you, and much to do with his survival instincts.
You could also think of it as their way of 'flushing' the business. Just like you know the proper rules of using the restroom, so does you doggie. Repressing his natural behavior may lead to unwanted fear and anxiety. Remember that the action of going potty is reinforced on its own. Don’t attempt to use harsh methods to stop him from doing so, as this could lead to communication and trusting issues between you.
These are just some of the things you can do to keep your doggie healthy and happy. Embrace communication and positive methods and remember that he isn’t doing this to annoy, but rather announcing that he was present.
Other Solutions and Considerations
If you’re concerned about your dog kicking around in your garden or leaving pits in your lawn, consider taking him to dog parks and socializing him with other animals. Don’t suppress his need to pee and cover-up, but rather engage him in playful and energy-demanding activities. If your dog pees inside of the house, consider potty training him so that he learns what is expected of him and not. Make sure you clean previous accidents with enzyme-based cleaners that remove traces of odor. This will discourage your pup to pee in the same area, and eventually, he will learn to do his business outside.
So the next time you're out for a walk with your dog and you see him cover up his pee, let him do it. However weird their natural habits may be, they’re still a part of their biological structure, so fighting against them won’t help in the long run. It can only lead to other unwanted behaviors, so just let him pee… be that is.
Written by a Amstaff lover Marieta Murg
Veterinary reviewed by:
Published: 02/14/2018, edited: 01/30/2020