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Why Dogs Spin Before Pooping

Why Dogs Spin Before Pooping

If you have ever watched a dog make its normal call to nature in your front lawn, you may have wondered what makes him spin around before pooping. Some dogs will spin in tight circles, up to 10 times, before bearing down and dropping a doggy deuce. Researchers have discovered that this odd habit can stem from a few places.

Theory One

The ancestor of our canine counterpart, the wolf, uses this technique to pat down the grass in their area, making the release easier, and less of a mess for our furry friends.

Theory Two

The reason for their dizzy tendencies is pheromones. In the same way that humans leave behind their fingerprints, dogs use their scent as their “business card.” By spinning in circles before going number two, our pups can ensure that the area will be well-groomed for their smell to be left behind. So, when that yappy Chihuahua from a few doors down wants to defecate on your dog’s lawn, he will think twice before doing business in your dog's office.

  Theory Three

A handful of German scientists say that the reason your furry friend spins is due to the magnetic alignment of the earth’s axis. And, just when we thought pooping was simple. “Analysis of pooled recordings as well as of mean vectors of recordings in dogs sampled during calm magnetic field conditions (relative change in declination = 0%; minimum of 5 observations per dog) revealed a highly significant axial preference for North–South alignment during defecation…” The scientist’s data would show that the pups do just about anything to avoid pooping in the east-west direction. This phenomenon would explain why dogs seem to worryingly hesitate, and search in circles for the perfect north-south direction or at the least a calm moment in the magnetic field.


While walking your dog, or simply letting it out to go seems so mindless to us as mere humans, we find out there’s a lot more behind it than just pooping. It's clear that Fido has a long history with the great outdoors and recycling kibble down to a science. After all, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Images by Scoop the Poop - Maryland Department of the Environment and Frontiers in Zoology 

Posted January 10, 2017 by


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