4 Smart Ways Dogs Pick Where to Poop


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Dogs are an amazing species that can teach us how to live, especially when it comes to picking where to poop.

They have a knack for picking the perfect place to poop, and they’ve been doing it for thousands of years!

Interestingly, dog poop is also loaded with a ton of genetic information - in fact, it was once used to solve a murder! (source)

So get ready your poop bags, and let's explore how dogs decide where to poop, and how they choose where to poop.

Who knows, you might find new, hidden areas where they store their poop!

How do dogs decide where to poop

So, how do dogs decide where to poop?

it turns out, they have quite a few methods to actually decide where they want to drop their deuces.

So, here are 4 really smart ways how dogs decide where to poop, and why they chose those places.

Dogs poop where they feel comfortable

In general, they'll poop wherever they feel comfortable enough to, especially if the area is easily accessible.

They want to be in an area where they feel safe and can relax.

This means that dogs will often poop around the house, in the toilets, and bedding areas (and designated spots in your house).

In the wild, this is important for two reasons:

First, it helps keep the pack's scent localized and concentrated in one area.

Second, it prevents predators from being able to track the pack by its waste.

Domesticated dogs still follow these instincts, though they no longer have to worry about being hunted by predators.

Besides, wouldn't you rather poop in the comfort of your own home, over a public toilet if you had a choice?

Typically location also plays a part - the nearer it is to their territory, the better.

If a dog only has a few minutes before needing to go again, they'll likely just go wherever they are standing at, or at the nearest 'safe' spot at least.

Dogs poop to leave their scent and mark their territory

Dogs use their noses, a lot - as seen when they find their way home.

Essentially, how dogs communicate is ALSO through using their urine and feces to mark territory.

This is booth for themselves and the pack (of course, domesticated dogs mostly do this marking when it comes to humans, and around their homes).

When a dog leaves its scent behind on an area - either by pee or poop - it's indicating that the area belongs either exclusively or partially to and their pack.

If you have a puppy at home alongside an older dog, you might also notice the older dog peeing or pooping at certain spots more often.

This is to let the puppy know that they're in the same pack, and the smell is the pack territory (usually leaving a mess in the gardens too)

Dog poop as territorial markers

It's not really about other animals 'overriding' their scent - it's just to communicate how much of the land is theirs.

However, if another dog poos over your dog's, it essentially becomes a (literal) poop contest - to see who was there more recently.

Earlier research suggested that this scent marking could also be a form of showing dominance in a given territory, but is currently being further studied.

As such, dogs tend to poop where there is already a lot of poop.

Either way, it'll be a lot of poop on lamp posts and certain heavy traffic areas - get your poop bags ready if you enter those areas!

Dogs poop to communicate with other dogs

Poop also serves as a form of communication between other dogs, too. It's not always about crappy territorial fights.

Other dogs who come across the deuce left by your dog will know what they ate recently, how long ago the message was sent out for other dogs to see, and even how healthy your dog is.

Also, what they ate can affect a dog's decision on whether or not to eat said poop.

In the wild, dogs also use this poop scent to tell if there is an ovulating female dog nearby to mate with.

As a marker, this can be particularly helpful for dogs who are lost, to help them find their way home again, too!


Why does my dog poop near the food bowl?

An important point to note is that dogs will generally NOT defecate near their food and water bowls in general.

If your dog poops near their food and water bowls, it might be an underlying sign of some anxiety or behavioral issues.

In that case, it might be worth a trip down to the vet to access if your dog is feeling any discomfort or anxiety.

why does my dog poop everywhere

There are multiple reasons why they poop everywhere, not just where it's comfortable for them.

Infrequent poop breaks

If you usually return home from a long day at work and discover that your dog has taken a poop at home, you may be leaving your dog alone for too long.

They usually only do this when they can't hold it any longer.

Consider leaving your dog out for a walk during your lunch break or hiring a pet sitter to visit and walk them!


Dogs with separation anxiety may also poop inside the house when they are feeling stressed.

Most dogs cannot control themselves when under stress, which will occur even with the most well trained dog.

Things to consider would mostly be - do they usually pee or poo when you're not at home? That is one possible indicator.

If you do suspect separation anxiety, you should consider going to a vet and getting their recommendation, and begin basic separation anxiety training with them.

Underlying medical problems

Some dogs have some medical problems that we don't know about until the vet examines them.

If your dog's poop has been abnormal and there was no identifiable reason for it, make sure to bring them in.

It could be a sign of something like more serious like diabetes or other hormonal issues!

Make sure you keep an eye out and get your pooch checked up regularly (at least once every six months).


It's not a secret that as dogs age, their bowel controls are also weaker.

If your dog is an elderly dog, please forgive and excuse the mess they made, it's not on purpose 🙂


Another common thing that can cause dogs to poop all over the place is parasites.

Typically the parasites you would see in their stools are roundworms and tapeworms.

However, there are other types of common parasites that can make your dog go number two more frequently than normal.

If you suspect any parasites in their stool, please bring them to a vet.


If you want to know how your pup is feeling, all you have to do is take a look at the ground.

When dogs are happy and healthy they usually go outside, but when they're stressed or anxious their poop may be found in other places around the house.

These warning signs can help pet parents better understand what's going on with their dog so that they can adapt accordingly.

Dogs don't always tell us directly when something isn't right in their world- so it’s up to us as owners to pay attention!

Have any of these situations happened in your household? Let's talk about them below!

about the author

Frank Harrigan

Frank loves tacos and dogs - the good, bad and ugly sides of dog ownership.

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