Dogs are fascinating creatures, to say the least. They chase most things that move, including their tails. They’ll eat almost anything they find on the ground, and they have an internal clock with precision comparable to most modern alarm clocks. 

Dogs of all shapes and sizes are genuinely incredible. They’re intelligent, emotional creatures capable of learning how to save human beings from natural disasters. 

They serve in times of war and detect everything from illegal drugs to disease. Yet, some of them poop while they walk. 

It seems while dogs are nothing short of amazing, they also display behavior that we humans are near incapable of understanding. So, we’re left wondering why on Earth would any creature walk while they’re pooping? 

Well, there might be more to this phenomenon than your dog simply exhibiting odd or silly behavior. Dogs rarely do anything without reason that makes sense to them, so it’s fair for us to assume that pooping while walking has a purpose. 

Why does my dog walk while he poops?

We already know that dogs have a little more flexibility than humans when it comes to when and where they decide to go number two. Many dogs have the same bathroom behaviors, which is interesting because while we train them where to go, we don’t teach them how to go. 

Of course, for all species, going to the bathroom is instinctual. It just happens. So what deeply rooted instinct could be encouraging your dog to walk around while he poops, forcing you to walk behind him with a poop bag?

Communication

When it comes to pooping, there is so much more going on in the canine world than it appears. In your opinion, your dog may have a tiresome, lengthy bathroom routine, but in reality, he’s communicating with the canine world around him.

You’ve probably noticed that when you take your dog for a walk, there’s quite a bit of sniffing happening. This endless sniffing and pushing around the grass and dirt is how dogs take in their environment. 

Because dogs communicate so heavily through scent, pooping is just another way they talk to the dogs in their neighborhood or on their walking trail. The scent glands located on either side of your pup’s anus are perfect for letting other dogs know that this poo is his poo, and therefore, this is his territory. 

Of course, walking puts pressure on these glands as well, so there’s more coming out of your dog’s backend than poop! Some dogs will even kick the grass behind them in an attempt to spread their scent even further. 

Now, all that walk sniffing makes a bit more sense.

Alerting other dogs to danger

Though it’s not often necessary in our modern world, dogs also use their poop to warn other dogs of danger. Their scent glands release a musky odor when agitated (which sometimes happens when you take a vet-hating dog to the vet, for example), so once upon a time, it was actually a built-in predator alert system. 

Perhaps you will come across a fox or coyote on your evening walk, depending on your location in the world. Your pup may secrete his anal glands, even without pooping, to let other dogs know that there is a potential danger in the area. So, it turns out your dog’s poop has a greater purpose!

Walking makes pooping easier

If you ask any doctor or veterinarian, they’ll tell you that moving your body will help stimulate and jumpstart your digestive system. So if you’re feeling a little constipated, many doctors will suggest a tall glass of water and a whole lot of movement. 

Dogs are no exception to the “movement = poop” rule. However, if passing is a problem, and you notice that your dog is consistently straining and struggling to go, call your vet right away to ensure that your pup is healthy. In addition, you may need to make minor diet changes or consider supplementing with pro and prebiotics with the usual food you feed your dog.

The walk and go

As we’ve often discussed, all dogs are different. Your dog might not be able to stand still long enough to go, especially if it’s young and excitable or old and a little sore. However, if your dog is otherwise in good health, there is nothing wrong with letting him strut around while he’s pooping. To each his own.

Why does my dog walk in circles while pooping?

Not all dogs spin in circles before they poop, but there are plenty of canines that choose to go around and around until they find the perfect spot. When Fido begins to dance and turn before going number two, there are a few factors at play.

Territory marking

You guessed it, your dog spinning before he poops means he’s leaving his scent and calling card all over that area. This territory marking is a way of letting other dogs know that this is now his space, at least until the neighbor pup comes along and pees on top of it! 

Practicing good hygiene

Your dog probably tries to eat the occasional dead animal, or at least attempts to roll it, so you may not think that hygiene is important to him. This assumption could not be further from the truth! 

In many cases, dogs that spin before they poop clean the area before they go. All that circling and stomping helps to flatten the grass and rid it of any unwanted debris. 

Safety

Though all dogs might not spin before pooping, they all have an instinct to ensure the area is safe before going. Whether or not your dog expresses that intuition depends on his personality and the environment, but back when predators were afoot, wild and domestic dogs alike would spin before they settled in to use the bathroom. 

It might not take long to go, but stopping to poop is certainly long enough for a predator to grab hold! Therefore, spinning may very well be a safety mechanism.

Why does my dog run away while pooping?

If you’ve got a pooch that runs away during and right after pooping, you’ve got a territory marker on your hands! Since dogs love to mark their space with scent, there is no better way than taking a gallop around the yard while pooping. 

Of course, always have your dog evaluated by a veterinarian to ensure that he isn’t in pain while going, which could cause the need to run during a poop. But, most likely, your dog wants the world to know that your yard is where he, and he alone, goes to poop.

Why does my older dog walk and poop?

In the case of older canines, walking and pooping can be a cause for mild concern. One of two things (or both) could be happening here:

  1. Your dog is marking his territory by moving while pooping.
  2. Your dog is sore and needs to move while pooping to alleviate the pressure of holding himself up.

A check-up at the vet will give you the answers you need. Also, your vet will point you in the right direction regarding medication if your older pup is indeed sore. 

Why does my dog poop in multiple spots?

You’re out on a walk or enjoying your backyard with Fido, and you notice that he’s pooping in more than one spot. Should you be concerned?

The short answer here is probably not. Because dogs use their poop to mark their territory and walking encourages them to go, pooping in many places is common and completely normal. However, if the consistency of the poop is runny, you may want to start feeding your pup a bland diet and check in with your vet, as it could signal tummy issues. 

How to stop my dog from pooping while walking?

Getting your dog to stop pooping while walking will likely be very hard. Doing so might also have unintended consequences such as your dog pooping inside instead. The easiest thing to do would likely be to allow your dog to continue doing it. If the poop is very hard, it would also help to take it to a vet.

Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.