Dagney's Thoughts on Pooping
Advice from a dog on how to make it a positive experience
Listen up! This is something humans need to know. Us dogs need space. That's right, you think putting us on a leash, escorting us to a rock and pausing is enough to activate our bowels. You should know it doesn't work that way. It takes time and sometimes a little ritual.
I've watched my humans each morning. Dad drinks a cup of coffee and disappears behind the door for a few moments to do his deed. Every morning like clockwork. He has a system. Mom is more sporadic so when her time arrives, time is of the essence. However, nobody gives any thought to the needs of a dog. We are not all the same. We all have different patterns.
Thankfully, my folks have been paying attention. As a puppy their expectations were unrealistic. It was like once out the door, they thought I would perform. But it doesn't work that way for them, and it certainly doesn't doesn't work that way for me. The conditions have to be right. Once they identified my routine, mornings became less stressful. Now they know in an ideal environment the event can be expediated.
Here's my routine. I like to walk a little to loosen up. After smelling a couple rocks and trees, I am able to narrow down my target. Grass relaxes me allowing the process to move quicker, feels more natural. Number one occurs easily almost anywhere. In fact, I love to make my presence known so I piddle a little every few feet to let other dogs know I have been here. Number two is different.
Carlo Siracusa, director of Small Animal Behavior Service understands us dogs gotta smell our surroundings.
"These messages can tell your dog how many other dogs are in the immediate area, the sexual status of those dogs…whether a particular dog is a friend or an enemy, what he or she had for lunch, and when they were last in the area."
I am a lady so privacy, please. Have some decorum. You don't leave the door open so why should I be expected to expose myself in public. A tall tree, behind a car, or a bush provides some protection from prying eyes and safety from intruders. Nobody wants to be on display during such intimate moments. Some people call it hiding; I like to think of it as security during a vulnerable moment.
Allow us space and time for our routines. Some people read on the toilet. Others check email. All I ask for is time and space to calm my sensibilities. You will know when I am ready when I pause and begin to sniff. Then I will circle a small area three times, always going in the same direction.
"When dogs poop they are also in a vulnerable position to predators. Spinning allows them to check their immediate surroundings for potential threats . . . Additionally, circling and sniffing help stimulate the bowels and flattens down the grass, so other dogs can easily find what they've left behind. "- From 8 Weird Things Dogs Do When They Poop
Once I begin, pay attention. Mom sometimes starts talking and misses all the clues. There is nothing worse than being jerked away in the middle of the process. Have some compassion.
I learned something most of you probably don't know. Must of us dogs like to poop "with the body being aligned along the north-south axis under calm magnetic field conditions."
Mom is great about helping me clean up. She carries pink, scented bags on her leash to pick up my poo. I really appreciate it because I do not have an opposable thumb so it is basically impossible for me to clean up after myself. Unless I use my mouth and that ain't happening!
Lately, I've noticed those little fragrant bags sitting beside the paths where we walk. What is that all about? Come on people, even with the scented kind, they start to smell after a while. Yesterday, I say one on a picnic table. Really!? Don't make us look bad, we are not wild animals like cows and horses who just deposit waste behind them when they walk. Put the bags in the garbage.
Mom's cool! Except the other day we had a little mishap. She bent down to bag my deposit and I kicked dirt in her face. I thought we had a system. She should know by now that kicking is part of my procedure.
"In the wild, canines such as wolves, dingoes and foxes may kick the ground after elimination for sanitary reasons. They are simply covering up the mess, but the behavior is also a way to mark territory. All dogs have glands in their feet that secrete pheromones, and a couple of backward scratches into the earth releases those chemicals." - According to VetStreet's Dr. Patty Khuly
The thing I love most about Mom is that she knows the importance of a good party. Everyday we celebrate the experience, never allowing it to become mundane. While I run around, she offers praise and always announces to Dad that we had a success. It makes me feel loved.
Many dogs take a celebratory sprint around the yard after a good bowel movement. It may seem like just another silly canine quirk, but there are actually several possible motives behind your pup's post-poop "zoomies."
For many dogs, pooping outside means a treat from their owner. Scampering about may be their equivalent of an end-zone dance because they know they are going to get a reward. Others - especially longer haired dogs - may use this method to dislodge a stubborn "cling-on" from their fanny. - From 8 Weird Things Dogs Do When They Poop
Thanks for listening and hopefully, the next time your dog takes you for a walk, these words of wisdom will help create a positive experience.
Disclaimer. Dagney asked me to post this article for her. When I noticed she had shared information from research, I added sources in an attempt to keep her from being accused or sued for plagiarism. Can a dog be sued? Anyway, thanks for the read. _ _ - Mom
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About the author
Stories about life that inspire emotions - mostly humor.
Lessons about writing based on my textbook, Strategies for Teaching Writing.
Poetry and essays about the of art of being human.
I write therefore, I am.