Who would have thought flying grass would be typical? It is practically a daily occurrence! You take your dog out to go potty, and suddenly from behind the bushes, tufts of bright green grass go whizzing through the air all around your pooch, who is looking mighty proud of himself. What gives?!
If your dog, like many others, likes to kick up the grass with his hind legs immediately after pooping, you aren’t alone. Kicking up grass is a common behavior with deep roots in the similarities to natural instincts of their wild ancestors, the wolf.
In this blog post, we’ll look at this amusing, yet perplexing behavior of grass-kicking dogs, whether it is harmless, and what you can do about it.
Why Do Dogs Kick Up Grass?
Good news! This strange behavior is completely normal and their way of communicating. When a dog kicks up grass behind them after pooping or peeing, it is known as ground-scratching behavior, a distinctive way to mark their territory.
Dogs are very attentive creatures who are cautious about other canines trying to trespass their territory. Your furry friends have complex paws, which serve a bigger purpose than simply cushioning their walk.
The glands in their feet secrete pheromones that have a stronger scent and will stay in that area for longer. The majority of dogs use urine or poop to mark their territory. However, kicking the grass backward in the same place where it went number two will compound the scent by combining the scent of both poop and pheromones.
Additionally, other dogs see the kicked grass as a visual cue to figure out if it is another dog’s territory. Apart from territorial reasons, the pheromones also serve as an indication of potential danger for dogs.
It is a form of communication between dogs that often go unnoticed by humans. Some dogs might not vehemently kick the grass, but rather, wipe their paws in a similar way.
This too leaves a unique combination scent that can warn other dogs of his or her presence. In addition, the scent can also communicate a mating opportunity, or let his territory be known. This behavior is well-ingrained in many dogs, especially dominant ones.
A lesser-known reason that many also attribute to grass-kicking is that a dog wants to cover up his mess. A survival technique that is as ancient as wolves, dogs will also try to hide their mess from predators.
This housekeeping behavior is also apparent in mother dogs, who are known to eat their puppies’ poop to mask the scent. While the act of eating feces is repulsive to most people, it is a surprisingly common behavior in dogs.
This is known as coprophagia, and while many dogs have eaten their poop, this behavior is significantly more unwanted than grass-kicking!
Do All Dogs Kick Grass After Pooping?
Regardless of breed or size, all dogs can develop the quirky habit of kicking grass over their poop or pee and using the bathroom dance to communicate with other animals.
Some anxious dogs or smaller breeds might exhibit behavior more often than calm, confident dogs. In addition, dogs in a new environment might also kick up some grass just to say “hey, I’m here!”
Males also have the tendency to do it more than females, especially for dominant dogs.
Is Kicking Grass Aggressive Behavior?
Kicking the grass with their feet and soil flinging everywhere can be easily misunderstood as aggressive behavior. On the contrary, it is just a method of communicating with other dogs and alerting them of their presence.
Domesticated dogs tend to kick grass to mark their territory, like peeing over another dog’s scent. In addition, it decreases the chance of a negative encounter with another dog in the vicinity.
Ground-scratching or grass-kicking is simply a way for your dog to say “if we don’t get along, be warned, I’m here.” It is often observed in insecure or nervous pets but also can be present in a healthy, well-balanced dog.
In addition, nervous dogs that kick grass might also try to reduce conflict with other dogs in the area, or make their presence known in an unfamiliar place. Just remember that this behavior is completely natural and harmless, but for a few missing tufts of grass.
The best way to deal with it is to let your dog indulge in grass and mud flying behavior. Otherwise, they may feel unfulfilled and insecure, or believe that they are more vulnerable.
Should I Try To Stop My Dog From Kicking Grass?
Even though it’s a natural behavior, domesticated dogs can damage a well-manicured lawn and injure their sensitive paw pads while scratching frantically at hot, rough surfaces such as concrete or asphalt.
Unless your dog is an enthusiastic kicker and starts to dig up your lawn or hurt himself, feel free to be amused at your dog’s harmless behavior and let your dog kick to his heart’s content. Kicking the grass is normal behavior for dogs and pet parents should not get too concerned.
Remember that your dog might feel frustrated and vulnerable if you try to change this behavior. However, if they are constantly hurting their paws, then you should train them to stop kicking the ground with positive reinforcement and redirection.
Just when the kicking is about to start, offer a toy, game, or treat to refocus your dog’s attention on something else than the unfortunate grass.
How Do I Get My Dog To Stop Kicking After Pooping?
It is recommended that you don’t stop their little kicking antics after they’ve had a poop. As it is an instinctive, harmless behavior that is simply a way to communicate to their fellow canines, it can be tolerated, and even enjoyed!
However, if you are tired of bare spots in your yard or scratches around your property, there are some ways that can reduce the damage.
To protect your property, especially a well-mowed lawn, you can take your furry friend for a walk somewhere else when they need to pee or poop. It is best to walk them on a loose leash so your dog can poop and kick freely.
You should always carry a bag so that you clean after your dog. The dog can kick as much as he needs in a local park and you will get to enjoy your beautiful lawn.
In addition, you might consider training your dog to always poop in a particular spot. If you locate a discreet spot in your yard, you can designate it as a potty area for your dog.
Kicking On Hard Surfaces
If your dog is kicking against tiles, concrete, or asphalt, it might be time to nip the behavior in the bud and stop it. Their sensitive paw pads can easily be hurt by enthusiastic kicking, and now you’ve got a footsore dog that is hobbling.
Their paw pads might crack, bleed, or get nicked on harsh surfaces like asphalt. If you notice your dog limping after a frenetic kicking session, check the pads for any damage.
A cracked paw pad is a common injury in dogs, especially those who enjoy spending time outdoors. While it may seem like a minor injury, it can actually be quite painful for your dog and lead to serious infections if not treated properly. Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to care for your dog’s paw pads and help them heal quickly.
First, clean the area around the crack with warm water and mild soap. This will help to remove any dirt or debris that could cause further irritation. Next, apply a generous amount of pet-safe ointment to the affected area.
This will keep the area lubricated and protected while it heals. Finally, wrap the paw in a soft bandage or sock to keep the ointment in place and prevent your dog from licking it off.
With proper care, most cracked paw pads will heal within a few weeks. However, if you notice any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or discharge, be sure to take your dog to the vet for further treatment.
Kicking the grass after a poop is a common, instinctive dog behavior that lets them leave a mark for other dogs to check out. Even though it might seem aggressive, this isn’t necessarily a behavior that needs to be corrected.
Your dog is simply kicking up the grass to send a message and mark his territory, so relax and enjoy the whirlwind of little tufts of grass flying through the air!