Have you ever noticed these behaviors while your companion dog poops?

During extreme weather, many of us companion dog parents anxiously watch our dogs defecate, so we can pick it up and run back into the house. In fact, many of us may delay a walk until we see the telltale signs that they have to poop or pee. During these times, we’ve observed five fairly interesting behaviors. 

So, how do you know when your companion dog needs to go outside?

We asked this question on our Facebook page and Miriam commented, “We taught her to ring the bell we hang on the front and back doors but mostly I can feel it within myself when she needs to go.” Indeed, Miriam reminded us that we become acclimated to the behavioral signals of having to go outside. Of course, when puppies or new dogs enter the household, we are all abruptly reminded of training and possibly observing new signals. 

We’ve seen dogs go to the door, pace, stare at us, point their tails straight into the air, and see their anuses swell. The last one is gross, but it can be a good indicator. 

What other telltale signs have people noticed? Well, below are additional observations.

Eska – Our 6-7 week old pups, had an “official spokesperson” who barked/howled/whines and went to the corner of the pen closest to the door.

Linda – Stand at the back door. If I’m out of view, one will stand at the nearest door and looks at me until I get it, the other stands close to me and sort of meeps sometimes he crawls on my lap and smooches at me until I get it. Can always tell both from anything else, as if I do much as twitch they go flying to the door.

Happy – One stares at me, one bites my toes, one barks at me, one brings me his toy, one runs around my couch.

Rozy – We have a doggy door, they go out when they need. But they usually come to me then I follow them to the door.

Janet – My dog grabs her favorite and only toy she will play with and starts barking at me with the toy in her mouth. My other dog doesn’t have to ask she does it for him. LOL

Elizabeth – My 13 year-old goes to the door and pushes the handle with her nose, the 9 year-old boy just stares through the glass, his sister wags her tail. However, they normally go when we have our first walk of the day, the 13 year-old trots up the lane and goes in the grass growing in the middle, the boy goes in our woods, the girl runs to the edge of the back garden. Always in the same area which makes it easy to find and pick up. Same routine after their evening meal.

Tristan – Well it doesn’t matter if it’s number one or two, he stands by the door as trained. He favors going in the park in high weeds, after meals.

Ann-Marie – My boys are like clockwork, Labradoodle pup (10 months) always goes first thing in the morning and then again after dinner. My older Shih Tzu always goes out after dinner as well. We have a pretty good routine and they never have to remind me they need out.

Lesley – Both mine go when I let them out first thing and both walk backwards and forwards to garden door if they need to go at any other time. My GSD I have had from a puppy and this is what she was taught to do from day one, my Vizsla I adopted as a 9 year old ex stud dog who lived in a kennel all his life and he learned the routine with no problems, no messes in the house because I was vigilant but he was asking before I had him a week.

Janet – My doodle puts her big face on my leg and pushes down hard. 

Marti – My dog comes up to me and stares hard then looks at the door.

Do you ever notice that your male dog gets an erection sometimes while pooping?

You might find this a bit embarrassing, but it is a normal biological reaction. It is just from pushing the bowel movement out. 

Why does my dog spin incessantly before pooping?

Not all dogs spin in circles before pooping. No one really knows why some do this, but many animal behaviorists think this behavior could be tied to one if not many reasons. They could be marking their territory by leaving a scent, flattening the grass or making the ground smoother, or ensuring the area is safe and secure from predators.  

Why does my dog point in the same direction each time he poops?

Researchers studied the way in which 70 dogs aligned themselves whilst they pooped for two years. The dogs were all unleashed and in a free-roaming environment so they were not distracted by buildings or sidewalks. The researchers concluded that dogs prefer to align their bodies along the north-south axis and determined that they use the earth’s magnetic field to do so. In fact, the researchers went so far to say that the dogs actively avoid east-west. However, we think the researchers gave themselves an out. In so many words, they stated that since the earth’s magnetic field is unstable a lot of the time that many dogs will go in any direction. 

We do not doubt dogs can sense magnetic fields. We know other animals like cows, termites, fish, and mice do to name a few. 

While we have known about this study for a while, we decided to observe a couple of our own dogs. We’ve seen them point directly north, south, west, east, northeast, and northwest. They also did not appear to be particularly stressed. Granted they were not in the same environment as the experiment and were leashed. We found it more fascinating when they all pointed in the same direction on a particular day.

Why does my dog walk and poop?

Have you ever witnessed your dog stopping to poop, drop a piece, take a couple of steps and drop another? Sure, it can happen occasionally to all dogs, but what if it is ongoing? And, what do you do?

Well, veterinarians do not have a definitive answer. We veterinarians have several theories and recognize it could be one factor or a combination of reasons. 

Before we delve into possible reasons, we would like you to observe your dog doing this on several occasions, think about the list and then discuss it with your companion dog’s veterinarian. 

#1. Anxiety or stress – We know it sounds weird, but the thought of moving and doing it may reduce the feeling of being pounced on or threatened. Indeed, if you are walking two or more dogs at once, one dog may be curious what the pooping dog is doing and the dog pooping just wants a little privacy. 

#2. Constipation or diarrhea – Could it be diet-related

#3. Arthritis, weakness or pain – This is when you need to consider your companion dog’s size and age. Are his legs wobbling? 

#4. Cognitive dysfunction – being unaware of what he’s doing or feeling, especially in aging pets. 

#5. Stuck poop – Hair and grass can string things together and make them difficult to expel all at once. Does your companion dog then scoot his bottom along the grass or sidewalk?

#6. Territory marking. 

#7. Movement can help bowels to expel poop faster. 

#8. Sniffing or curious about what is going on around him. 

We posed the question to Dr. Jean Dodds of Hemopet about a 10- year- old rescued, small, and mixed-breed dog that had possibly been abused as a puppy and had had a recent change in homes. A change in food had already alleviated the problem a little. 

She suggested, “this could be the effect of age-related stress from the change of home situation and canine cognitive dysfunction. You could add extra fiber to her diet with chick peas, or psyllium husks or sweet potato. Try lavender oil on her nose leather and behind each ear.” 

So, we described the situation and she thought it might be a combination of issues occurring. This could be a possible solution or alleviation for your companion dog, but again, you need to consult your veterinarian.

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