This is a follow-up to the reader question,”Why does my dog scratch the ground after he pees or poops?”
* dogs are curious and dig when there is an interesting smell (although the dog owner wasn’t asking about digging)
* dogs scratch with their back paws to mark territory
* while most dogs scratch and spread the ground after urinating or defecating to spread the scent, some scratch as a ‘happy dance’
* one reader noted that cats also do this
* scratching the ground to spread scent after urinating/defecating is more common in males, but some females also do this
So, it seems there are different opinions about the function of scratching the ground after the dog urinates/defecates. It’s unlikely the dog is attempting a polite cover-up and most likely the function is to spread scent to 1) mark the dog’s territory and 2) leave information for other animals that come along.
Dogs have scent glands between the pads of their paws. Scratching up the dirt and grass leaves traces of the dog’s scent and spreads the canine news. As I wrote in the book, Citizen Canine, ”humans send email, dogs send pee-mail.”