Why Does My Dog Walk and Poop? [Answers]

Plenty of the behaviors exhibited by dogs can confuse people. They are great companion animals, but they can develop unusual habits. Luckily, dogs respond well to training and can change their behavior if necessary.

Dogs walking while they poop is a potentially unwanted behavior your dog may exhibit. This can be frustrating if you are trying to collect your dog’s poop and they keep moving away from you before it drops. So, you may be wondering, “why does my dog walk and poop?”

why does my dog walk and poop
Why does my dog walk and poop? [Answers]

There are different reasons your dog might be doing this. Below, we will go over some of the main reasons your dog walks and poops and what you can do about them.


Constipation is a common cause of pooping issues for dogs. It can cause your dog to not finish pooping before they move around. Other symptoms of constipation to look out for are vomiting or lethargy.

It can also be quite painful for the dog, but it is usually easy to fix. 

Your dog needs to get enough fiber in its diet. They also need to be drinking enough water. Other remedies described by Web MD include pumpkin puree, wet food high in moisture, and laxatives.

If the problem persists even after trying these at-home remedies, it is best to take your dog to a vet.

Boston Terrier walking
Boston Terrier walking at the park.

Loose Stool

If your dog’s stool is too loose, they may walk while they poop on accident. Loose stool can have a variety of causes, some serious and some minor. These include:

  • Overall diet 
  • Sudden dietary changes
  • Eating something toxic
  • Eating something infected with bacteria or parasites
  • Disease
  • Internal organ issues

Introducing new food or new medication are also potential causes. Cheap dog food, in general, is known to cause this. If this problem persists, try a different food or talk to your vet about switching medication.

If the problem is diet-related, changing from wet food to dry food can help. Here are four different dog foods specifically for loose stools. 

Loose stool can also be a symptom of more serious problems like diseases or parasites. If the loose stool becomes a recurring issue, you should get your dog seen by a licensed veterinarian.

picking dog poop
A white dog with his owner on the grass.

Scent Marking

Dogs are territorial animals, using their urine and poop to “mark” territory. They do this to let other dogs know they were in the area. Dogs’ poop contains pheromones that give specific information about each dog.

These pheromones can tell other dogs the age, health, and gender of the dog that pooped. Scent marking is a natural behavior seen in every breed of dog.

Scent marking can cause your dog to walk while they poop so that they spread their pheromones over a larger area. Doing this essentially marks more territory and makes their scent more easily detectable to other dogs. Your dog may not always walk while they poop if this is the case.

If, however, they consistently do it, it could be a habit they developed.

dog sniffing grass
A dog finding a scent he smelled.


Just like people, dogs develop habits by repeating behaviors over and over. Your dog could have observed older dogs walking while they pooped when they were a puppy. Or, they may just consistently like to mark a wide area with their scent as described above.

Your dog may even have trouble staying still in general, leading them to not poop in one spot. 

If this habit is an inconvenience, you can try altering it with training. The best training uses rewards to get your dog to change its habits. Research has shown that reward-based training has significantly better results in altering a dog’s behavior than aversive-based methods.

So make sure to go easy on your dog, they are not doing anything to annoy you on purpose. 

Old Age

Maybe you have a middle-aged or elderly dog that walks and poops. Like humans, as dogs get older, their muscles begin to deteriorate. Muscular atrophy is common in older dogs.

This condition can cause a dog to have more difficulty pooping in general.

Pay attention to your dog’s movements and if they struggle to poop. Shaking legs are a common symptom caused by muscle issues as well. 

There are a few solutions for muscle issues that come with old age. These include joint supplements and exercise. Making sure your dog gets enough exercise is vital in keeping their muscle health in check.

However, there could be more serious underlying health issues involved. Because of this, if your elderly dog has consistent issues pooping, it is best to see a vet.

an old dog
An old dog looking at the camera.


Dogs are known for being pretty easily distracted. When they go outside to poop, there are plenty of things that can get their attention while they do the deed. 

There could be other animals in the area, like birds or squirrels. Or maybe at the dog park, they are paying attention to the other dogs a little too much while they poop.

It could also be less of a distraction issue and more of an anxiety issue. In either case, allowing your dog to have an environment he or she is comfortable in will likely alleviate the problem. For example, having a fenced-in backyard where your dog can feel safe and at home is a good idea.

If this is not possible, go out with your dog so they have company while they poop. 

dog barking
A dog on a leash is barking.

Turning to Face a Certain Direction

Is your dog always turning to face a specific direction while pooping? Instead of walking while they poop, are they turning their body?

Strangely enough, this is common and has a fascinating explanation. Research from Frontiers in Zoology found that dogs actually can sense the Earth’s magnetic field. Not only that, but with certain conditions, they poop in a direction that aligns with the North-South axis of the magnetic field. 

This strange biological phenomenon can be seen in a variety of dog breeds. So if your dog is turning quickly while they poop, they may just be aligning with the Earth’s magnetic axis. No big deal.

Westiepoo in forest
A Westiepoo standing in the middle of the forest.

Underlying Medical Issues

Trouble defecating can have a variety of causes, many of them medical as discussed above. If your dog is exhibiting consistently problematic pooping behavior, it could be related to an underlying health issue.

They may be walking while they poop because of a disease that is affecting the quality of their stool. They will likely exhibit other symptoms as well, clearly not acting 100%. They could also have internal organ problems, like gastrointestinal issues.

In either case, it is a good idea to get them checked out by a vet. The vet can correctly diagnose the problem and provide the right medical treatment for your dog.

walking Labrador Retriever
Why does my dog walk and poop? [Answers]


Hopefully, this article has given you a better idea of why your dog walks and poops. Dogs are very energetic animals that love to investigate the world around them. They poop not just to excrete their waste, but also to mark their scent.

Many aspects of dog behavior are still unknown and every dog is different.

But generally, your dog walking and pooping is not an issue to be too concerned about. As long as your dog is healthy and the stool is not too messy, that is. Just be on the lookout for any other symptoms that appear just in case.

If your dog is showing other notable health issues, make an appointment with the vet. 

If your dog is pooping in places that are not so ideal, check out this article on where to put dog poop in the backyard.