They’re ensuring their safety
“Just like when we go to the bathroom and we check for snakes in the toilet before we sit down (or is that just in Australia?!), Fido is checking to make sure his behind won’t get bitten while he does his business,” Dr. Austin said.
This means that your pup is simply making sure there are no predators nearby (or hiding in the grass) when he’s in his most vulnerable state.
It’s like how people wipe down a public toilet seat
According to Dr. Austin, just like how we wipe a public toilet seat before using it, our dogs wipe the sidewalk or grass.
“We both like to be hygienic before doing our business,” Dr. Austin said.
He’s marking his territory
“Using scent glands on either side of his anus (the anal glands), your pup is telling the rest of his ‘hood who he is and where he’s been — [so the message stays] even after you’ve cleaned up the evidence (hopefully!),” Dr. Austin said.
He likes to poop facing north (or something like that)
In 2013, some Czech and German researchers determined in a study of 70 dogs across 37 different breeds that dogs like to align themselves with the Earth’s magnetic poles when they’re going to the bathroom. They found that dogs like to find the north-south axis before they poop.
“However, the researchers couldn’t determine if this behavior was conscious or unconscious behavior,” Dr. Austin said.
Hopefully knowing what your dog’s thinking will make it less frustrating next time it seems like he’s taking 10 minutes to find the perfect spot — gotta find that north-south axis!