Why Does My Dog... Do a Poop Dance?

Alamy

For many creatures, dance is a form of ritual. Prairie chickens attract mates by performing an elaborate courtship dance. Honeybees alert other bees to nectar with a unique waggle.

As for dogs, well, they have the poop dance.

All canines may not perform the jiggy, but for those who do, the steps are instantly recognizable: They spin in circles, and then hop from one back paw to the other, before finally getting down to business.

Discerning the Art of the Dance

What possible reason could there be for this curious ritual? No one really knows for sure.

One explanation is that walking and physical exercise helps to get the digestive tract moving. Since dogs often use urine and feces to communicate with other animals, once they find a prime location for marking, they may need to dance a bit to motivate those bowels into action. Canines also have scent glands in their paws, so the fancy footwork may be another way to mark the surrounding terrain.

Another line of thinking: The poop dance is a behavior inherited from wild canine ancestors. Twirling in circles may have enabled early dogs to scan the horizon and sniff for predators, as well as tamp down long grass.

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