Dogs display a lot of mannerisms that we, as humans, typically find difficult to comprehend but which make absolute sense in the canine world. And one of such canine behaviors that we may find difficult to understand is dogs kicking grass with their hind legs.
So, why do dogs kick grass? Dogs kick grass for a variety of reasons, and these include scent spreading to mask their location, as a way of spreading scents to mark their territories, an attempt to clean their paws, or simply out of boredom.
Regardless of the harmless intentions behind a dog kicking grass, it can get pretty frustrating having to deal with a dog that constantly messes up the lawn. And this article contains practical methods by which you can reduce your canine buddy’s grass-kicking tendencies. However, before we go into those, let’s examine the detailed explanations of the possible reasons your pooch may be kicking grass.
What Does It Mean When Dogs Kick Grass?
Common reasons for grass kicking by dogs include as a way of marking territory, to mask the scent of their poop, to clean their paws for self-grooming, or due to boredom.
To Mark Territory
Dogs are highly territorial in nature, and they also respect the concept of territory. And one of the ways by which pooches establish boundaries with other dogs is by kicking grass to spread their scent.
Scent glands are located on multiple locations around a dog’s body, one of these being the paws. These glands typically contain chemicals called pheromones that bear unique information about the pooch secreting them.
And by rubbing and kicking against grass, a pooch can leave its unique scent and inform another dog that it has been around and that particular location is its territory.
To Cover Scent After Pooping
Centuries ago, wild dogs would kick grass over their poop as a way of masking the scent of their waste, thereby protecting them from predation. And this behavior of covering poop with grass is one that has survived evolution through the years and can still be observed in the domesticated dogs of today.
To Clean Their Paws
Dogs are masters of self-grooming, and if you observe your canine buddy kicking against grass, it may be that the pooch doesn’t enjoy the feeling of dirt and debris against its paws and is simply trying to wipe them off by kicking grass.
A Display Of Boredom
It is also possible that your dog is kicking grass simply because it has nothing to do and has a lot of pent-up energy to release.
The nature of a dog is that it has to be constantly engaged in activities that will provide adequate mental stimulation, and when a pooch has been idle or ignored for long, it can express its frustration by kicking at grass.
Dogs derive a sense of satisfaction from kicking grass. And if you don’t start paying adequate attention to your canine buddy, there’s every chance of its grass-kicking behavior turning into an obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is typically more difficult to correct.
How Can I Get My Dog To Stop Kicking Grass?
You can get your dog to stop kicking grass by properly training the dog, restricting the pooch to a specific pooping location, engaging the dog in activities to keep it busy, and in the worst-case scenario, employing an animal behaviorist.
Generally, grass kicking is a harmless and completely natural behavior, and if you’re comfortable with your canine buddy kicking up some grass, you can just leave the dog to continue to do its thing.
If, however, your dog’s grass kicking is causing significant damage to your landscape, there are a number of corrective measures that can be implemented to correct this behavior. And some of these measures are outlined below:
One way by which you can effectively put a lid on your dog’s grass-kicking behavior is by employing various distraction routines to stop your dog from kicking up grass, especially after it has just finished pooping.
Monitor your dog while pooping, and once the dog is done toileting and is getting ready to kick grass, you should immediately redirect the pooch’s attention either by calling out its name or using a recall command.
Do not yell or shout at a pooch kicking grass, as this typically leads to the dog becoming fearful and strains the bond of trust between you and your canine buddy.
That said, it can get pretty exhausting having to watch out for your canine buddy every time it poops, just to distract it afterward, and this leads us to the next method.
Restrict Your Dog’s Pooping To A Specific Area
Another route you can take, instead of attempting to completely eliminate grass kicking, is to mark out a specific location – preferably with grass – for your canine buddy to do its toilet business and then leave the pooch to do its thing.
As mentioned earlier, grass kicking after pooping is an entirely normal behavior in the canine world, and by providing an area away from your precious lawn for your canine buddy to do its business, you can encourage this behavior and not have to constantly worry about your lawn.
If there’s no area with grass that you can mark for your pooch’s toileting, don’t worry! Pebbles, river rocks, and mulch make for effective substitutes to grass.
Keep Your Dog Busy
Dogs easily get bored and tend to pick up undesirable behavior such as grass kicking when they’ve been idle for too long; Hence, by providing different avenues for your canine buddy to release pent-up energy, you can reduce and eliminate such a pooch’s desire to kick grass.
Regularly engage your dog in exercises or games, take the dog on mentally stimulating walks or a visit to a doggie park, and provide time for play with other pooches.
Additionally, you can provide your dog with interactive toys and puzzles that will keep the pooch busy for a considerable period.
Contact A Professional
As mentioned earlier, there’s every possibility of your pooch’s grass kicking degenerating into an obsessive-compulsive disorder.
And if you observe that your canine buddy is indulging in this act of grass kicking more frequently or that it is becoming more difficult to call off your pooch when it is rubbing its paws against your law, you may need the specialized services of a professional dog trainer or animal behaviorist to curb grass kicking in your canine buddy.
Do note that dogs can injure themselves by kicking grass; Hence, if your pooch has been kicking grass, ensure to check its paws afterward for signs of bruises and cuts.