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Like many things your dog does, kicking the ground after it eliminates is a very instinctual behavior and may have multiple purposes. This behavior can be traced back to a dog’s wolf ancestors. Like wolves, dogs have scent glands located between the pads of their paws. These scent glands secrete pheromones which are released with a few backward scratches. Called “scrape behavior” in wolves, this action marks their territory. Dogs may not be using this behavior in the same way. They may use this behavior to let other dogs know that he/she is not a threat. That “allows” other dogs to come through the area. The behavior is also used by the dog to clean up, so to speak. It is a way to cover a soiled area. This is also an instinctual behavior.
Have a question for Dr. Klein? Email him at CVO@akc.org.