Why Do Dogs Circle Before Pooping?

Why Do Dogs Circle Before Pooping?

Why Do Dogs Circle Before Pooping?

Ever since I became a dog owner, I started to be puzzled with dog’s behavior. I noticed that my interest on knowing my dog more, have increased, like, I have began to wonder, why dogs chase their tails? Why dogs sniff each other’s butt? But, one thing that I am very curious and for sure a lot of you as well, is… WHY DO DOGS CIRCLE BEFORE POOPING? So, to answer my question, I did my research.

After looking for answers to my question : Why Do Dogs Circle Before Pooping? I found out that there are 3 Theories and Speculations like the following : Dogs circle for hygienic and territorial purposes, Dogs circle before pooping to make sure they are safe and lastly, Dogs circle to look for the Earth’s magnetic field. 

I am going to explain all those answers in details so you’ll have an understanding of why your Fido circles before pooping and even before lying down. So, after reading this post you won’t be questioning your doggos like, “Why are you so picky where you poop?” “What are you looking for a ground to poop on?”

So, without further ado, let’s begin.


The answers to the question, “Why do dogs circle before pooping?” which, most dog owners are eager to know, are already out there. And apparently, there are three theories and speculated that these same theories behind why do dogs circle before lying down. So let’s start.

First, I would like to quote something that I read from the Wag! They made a nice analogy on to why do dogs circle before pooping. Here it is :

When a dog circles round and round before he poops, he is doing several things. He is ensuring safety, cleaning his spot, and leaving his calling card. Dog communicate a lot of messages through their excretions and setting it up is important. Consider it wording their latest status update on social media. If you only have 140 characters to your message across, you choose your words carefully.


Nice analogy, huh? They compared the dog’s spinning to updating status on social media. Without further ado let’s continue.


Why Do Dogs Circle Before Pooping?

Although, not all dogs spin before they poop (which I didn’t know about) this behavior is common to most dogs. Your pup spin in circles because they are also cleaning the area by patting down underbrush. It keeps your pup’s waste from sticking to it and then rubbing it to their own fur (oooppss!)

And for territorial purposes, doggos circles and stomps to their chosen spot before they poop to let other dogs know that, that area have already been claimed. And in this process, it allows their scent from their urine and poops to reach farther, longer distance. So, it will be clearer from where, to where they marked their territory.


Another reason as to why do dogs circle before pooping is to make sure that they are safe while doing their “business”. For us humans, it is pretty weird seeing our dogs spinning in circles on the couch before they lay down or even before they poop but actually in the wild, dogs would go on circles to push down tall grasses driving away snakes, insects and other possible predator.

Remember that when they squat, they are in a very vulnerable position that they won’t be able to protect itself.

By the way do you have Instagram account dedicated to your Fido? Try reading this article for captions you can use for your Instagram :

76 Dog Captions To Grow Your Instagram


Why Do Dogs Circle Before Pooping?

Okay, although I know that dogs circling around is weird, the reasons are pretty understandable. But, knowing that there’s a scientific explanation about it, is a total surprise for me!

I was like, what?!!

Yes, you heard it right. Interestingly, animals has electromagnetic magnetic sense that allows some of them to feel or detect the Earth’s magnetic field.

Like how birds use it to migrate and there are studies that cows use it to align themselves in a North – South pattern when they graze or resting too and coincidentally, dogs use the exact the same direction when they poop. Sounds surprising isn’t it? I better use compass from now on every time I take my dog for a walk lol.

So, what happened next was there were researchers who study and watched 70 dogs of different breeds for 2 years. They watched these dogs do the circle before they poop. And recorded which direction they face to do their “business” more often. As a result, these dogs when they poop, they prefer to align themselves North to South direction where the Earth’s magnetic field is calm. Also, a proof that dogs have internal compass.

In addition, these dogs’ behavior on pooping happens about 20% of the time during daylight. However, during geomagnetic storm or called solar storm, our Fido are more likely not picky during these events. Why? Don’t ask me, because even the researchers couldn’t figure out the reason why.

What they do know is that, dogs prefer to their pooping if they are aligned to North – South direction and avoiding East – West direction. These studies by the way, were published in the journal Frontiers in Zoology.


Final Thoughts

Now that you, including me, all know the reason behind why do dogs circle before pooping I don’t think you are all going to look at your pups the way you look at them before, specially when they do circling. Now, you know that your doggos are just being scientific with their pooping spot.

It is very important encourage this particular behavior because it is their nature. By doing this, it will help them maintain their hygiene and also their security. Rushing them might cause a problem later on and for sure you don’t want that to happen.

The only thing that it can be challenging for us dog owners is during a bad weather, or seasons like summer which is really hot or during winter.

So, before we get irritated why your Fido taking so long to poop, remember that he’s doing a lot of things and making sure that he is also safe.

Be patient, make sure you have plenty of time when you and your dog go out for a walk. I

Your Thoughts

I don’t want to end this post without asking you guys your experience when you take your doggies out for a walk. Does your dog do its “business” quick? or not? Were there times that you got imitated because it takes him way to long to poop? Be honest… I sometimes do.

Share your experience in the comment section below, I would love to hear and share my own too.

See you on my next post ๐Ÿ˜‰

D the Doggo Dog's Life with Hooman

Spread the love

15 thoughts on “Why Do Dogs Circle Before Pooping?”

  1. I never new there’s a scientific “reason” why dogs circle around before the poop. I just thought, they’re just being “dogs”.

    It is good to know that there are specific reason for their behavior. It always puzzled me everytime I see dogs spin before they lay down or poop. You’re article explained a lot.

    Now, I will be more considerate and patient with my dogs. But sometimes, you can’t help you it, you know? One of my dog has a habit of taking sooo long to ‘poop’.
    Should I consult a vet for that?

    • Hi Mary,
      Thanks fro dropping by and I’m glad that you find this post helpful.
      I was surprised too to know that Earth’s Electro Magnetic Field
      is also one of the reasons why our dogs spin like crazy
      I mean who knew, right?

      And like you, after knowing the fact that dogs are not just being “dogs”
      when they circle, it also tuaght me to become more patient.

      Well, if you feel that it takes him way too long to poop, then, I suggest
      that consult your nearest vet before it gets worst.

      D’s Mom

  2. Wow…

    It wasn’t until I saw your title I suddenly thought “oh, yeah…why do they do that?”

    The first two theories make a lot of sense, and I have often wondered about some aspects of cat behaviour and other pets so like to think I’m scientifically curious, but I cannot for the life of me work out why there’s a magnetic correlation for dogs doing their business, lol. 

    This is going to bug me for a long time, I cannot imagine how much it’s bugging the researchers!

    Thanks for such an interesting read!


  3. You know, this question has actually been on my mind for a long time and I didn’t just know how to answer myself and now that I see you give the details to answer that question, I am very glad. You know I see that they really do have a mind of their own the dogs and they also know what they want. They have a sense of hygeine and also want to be safe too. That’s good stuff.

  4. So interesting! I really enjoyed your article Why Do Dogs Circle Before Pooping? I have 2 dogs and 1 (the smart dog) does this and the other not so smart dog does not. Do you think it has anything to do with if the dog is smart?

  5. The Electromagnetic field. Now that is interesting. I would have never thought that. The territorial thing for sure, but not that lol. Although it does make sense, so pretty crazy. How many dogs do you have? I have 3. 1 black lab, 1 Australian shepherd and 1 chihuahua. Love em all. Gonna bookmark your site. I love it!

  6. Hi,

    This article really made me smile! We’ve all seen dogs doing this circling, but most of us have never thought to ask why

    I love the theories that you discuss here. Personally I think its probably a safety issue.

    I have noticed that when my dog poops she stares at me. I’ve always thought that was because she was in need of some protection while she was in such a vulnerable position.

    What do you think about that?

    • Hi Judy,
      Glad to know that my post made you smile.
      While I was doing my research regarding this post- I came across to the
      topic on “Why Do Dogs Stare at You While He Poops?”
      And yes, you are right.

      It “staring” has something to do with protection because, like you said,
      they are in a vulnerable position that they might be able to protect themselves.

      The funny thing is, although most dogs stare, mine doesn’t! ๐Ÿ˜†
      So, I’m somewhat in the middle of that theory.


  7. Hi, D,

    I’ve seen dogs and cats do the same thing when they poop, but honestly, I’d never wondered about it. It’s very interesting to discover it has to do with their wild instincts. Even though they’re domesticated animals, they don’t completely lose their instincts.

    If we think about it carefully, it makes sense that dogs take their time before doing their business due to their territorial behavior and making sure about their safety. However, the theory of magnetic fields is quite astonishing. Who would have thought? lol

    Thanks for sharing. It was an interesting read.

    • Hi Enrique,
      Thanks for dropping by.
      Yeah, I know, right? It is surprising to know that dog’s circling is somewhat connected
      to Earth’s Magentic Field! Who knew?
      Well, it’s just a proof that dogs are not only cute but they’re also smart.


  8. This was a very interesting read. The last theory seems a bit hard to believe but it makes some sense when you think about it. I think the first theory sounds the most reasonable and is probably the real reason why dogs circle before they poop. In any case, thanks for sharing this interesting post. I like you site a loot! Keep up the great work.

  9. Hi Mina,

    This is a really interesting article. I don’t have a dog anymore but a couple of my friends do. So, I’m going to forward this article onto them because I think they will find this just as interesting.

    When I used to take my dog for a walk to do his business, I never, ever though of or even looked out for how or why he did his business in the way that he did. But, after reading your article I can now see him doing his circles. And I can see other dog’s doing the same.

    The next time I am out and about with my friend and his dog, I am going to keep a close eye on her for when she does her business and see if she circles ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thank you for sharing and keep up the amazing work.

    All the best,


  10. Great topic with a great explanation to a question many of us dog owners have found interesting to know forever, you explained it so clearly why do dogs circle before pooping.

    What I find so interesting is they do this even as wee little pups, so it must be something born in them to do. Do all dogs circle before they poop, I am anxious to know the answer?


  11. I had often wondered why my dog would circle before he pooped. What you describe makes a lot of sense. They run on instinct. They probably don’t understand that we are there to protect them while they do their business, so they have to tamp it down. I get the marking thing—I get it, but I do not like it! Unfortunately, he likes to mark things in my house, too.

    How do I get him to stop marking my couch? And My chair? And the kitchen table? And nearly everything else in my house!

    The electromagnetic thing was a new thing to me. I will certainly have to watch to see which direction he stands when he poops!


Leave a Comment