Everyone does it. And when you gotta go, you gotta go. Dogs have a little more flexibility in that regard than we humans do. They can go just about wherever they want to and they do not care who is around. Especially if they are not trained, dogs or puppies may go whenever they feel the need—even if it is on your floors. But not every dog “goes” the same way. Their funky potty habits can make you laugh or scowl. Your dog might be extremely selective where they choose to go, they may circle around first, and they may even walk while they go! Why do dogs walk while pooping?
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The Root of the Behavior
You might think that there is very little cause to justify your pet’s lengthy bathroom routine. But for a dog, there is a lot more going on than just their bowel evacuation. If you take your dog for a walk for potty times, there is also a lot of sniffing going on. Dogs communicate through scent in a lot of ways. Number two is just one way. Dogs have scent glands on either side of their anus. These scent glands are a kind of vestigial feature that no longer serves the purpose they once did. They do function, however, as a form of identification tag for your dog. These scent glands emit a musky odor when your dog goes potty, which identifies their poo for other dogs passing by. It may also alert another dog of danger since those anal glands can be expressed when a dog is scared. Walking while pooping may be one way that your dog is able to leave their scent. The action of walking puts pressure on those scent glands, thereby leaving more of their musky personal signature for others to investigate.
Scent glands are also part of the reason some dogs “wipe their feet” after going outdoors. There are some scent glands on the pads of a dog’s paw. That distinctive kicking is doing more than just trying to cover their poop, it is also marking their scent around the area. Another reason dogs might walk while pooping is just being able to go easier. If passing is a problem, they may walk a little to try and alleviate that difficulty. If you notice your dog struggling or straining often, it might be time to consult a vet, just to make sure your dog is otherwise healthy. Lastly, some dogs just walk and go. It doesn’t matter if it’s pee or poo, some dogs just can’t stand still long enough to go in one place. It might be awkward to chase your dog around with a bag, but some just go in whatever way they are most comfortable with.
Encouraging the Behavior
You may not enjoy your dog leaving little presents all over the place, but it is a totally normal thing for them. They are either marking their territory, communicating with other dogs, or just simply going however they can. You can consult a trainer if your dog’s “going” habits become a concern, or if your dog goes in inappropriate places, but for the most part, a dog’s gotta go where a dog’s gotta go. If you are concerned about the amount of time your dog takes to find the right spot to go, you can try to expedite the process and anticipate their habits. Try taking your dog for a walk between 20 and 30 minutes after their meals. Most will feel the need to go during that exercise, and you may have an easier, faster potty experience.
Your dog’s anal glands might not be necessary anymore, but they do occasionally require attention. Sometimes, infections may happen, which can become uncomfortable for your dog. If inflamed or infected, you might also notice a gross, fishy smell. If you notice your dog’s offensive aroma, or if your dog is scooting or twirling across the floor, you may want to bring them to the vet to make sure they are okay.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Luckily, unless your dog is having difficulty going, or going
somewhere inappropriately, there is very little you ever need to worry about under
the tail. While it might be uncomfortable or annoying for you, your dog’s potty
habits are a useful communication tool for them. Those scent glands are a
useful doggy language. And since most groomers are trained to express your dog’s
anal glands with every cut or bath, it may actually benefit your dog’s health. Spreading and sniffing out scents is your dog’s way to gain a ton
of information about other dogs in the area. So, while you might be cold or
tired, try to let your dog do their thing. They don’t make you shut down
Facebook, do they?
While their odd potty habits might be a minor inconvenience for you, try to let your dog do their thing. Dogs usually have a reason for everything they do, and we do not always understand them. It is no secret that your dog’s secretions may be more telling than you know. It is just not a language humans are equipped to know.