It’s 20 degrees outside and you are on the nightly poop walk… Your dog sniffs and runs, then spins and semi-squats…then sniffs some more and runs to another spot, only to sniff, tug at the leash, kick one leg in the air… Meanwhile, your knuckles are chapped, your lips are turning blue…. then, the final spin and… 20 minutes later…(drumroll, please) poop success!!! Woo-hoo!
What is THAT all about?!? If you read online all the theories as to why dogs must go through this seemingly ridiculous routine to go poop, you’ll probably shake your head in disbelief… Ever wonder if these writers maybe over-think things?
A Cosmic Event
For example…One recent study* concluded that dogs are attempting to align themselves with the earth’s axis and prefer to defecate along the North-South axis if the magnetic field is stable. REALLY? So…our dogs have a compass in their hiney? Oh, yeah… and they spent TWO YEARS studying defecation and urination to come to this conclusion. You have to admit, though.. their findings are intriguing.
Not so unbelievable are those who link it solely to a dog’s keen sense of smell, which makes more sense with all the sniffing going on. They believe a dog is leaving a message, or a “calling-card” of sorts, via poo. Maybe they’re telling other dogs whether or not there is danger in the area, or maybe “introducing themselves” as a friendly dog. Maybe they’re telling other dogs to stay out of their poop area. Kind of a ridiculous theory? Maybe… Makes you wonder, then, after our dogs go through such great pains to leave their “calling card”, what do they think when we pick it up in a little bag and throw it away? (teehee…)
Dogs in the wild have been observed assessing the potty area for potential threats before doing their business. They may tamp down the grass, or “turn” (the perplexing spin, perhaps?) to survey the area. Maybe, then, all this rigmarole is how, instinctively, they make sure their area is safe and secure before they put themselves in a vulnerable squatting position?
Now let’s switch up to the 21st century and think logically… Dogs have evolved. While it’s true that much of what they do is instinctive, couldn’t it be that our domesticated dogs just want to find somewhere that they won’t be disturbed, somewhere that is clean (by their standards), and is free from predators (and I’m not talkin’ coyotes or mountain lions, although, depending on where you live, that is plausible) like maybe snakes or raccoons? There is also the possibility all the running around and searching could just be their way of prolonging their outdoor excursion, or to spend more time with you! Yeah, I like that one best.