Have you seen a dog peeing and then scratching ground on the side of the road? Yes, I am sure you did?
Although this behavior of the dogs is usually considered to be an unexplained quirk, a study which had been done on this behavior can tell us a lot about dogs.
First of all, not all dogs have such a sense of ritual of scattering the dust into the air after peeing or defecating; only 10% do such things. This behavior usually has a special meaning.
Rosie Bescoby, a clinical animal behaviorist from the British Association of Pet Behavior Consultants, said that dog behavior is not related to the male and female and is only triggered in certain situations. Usually, after defecation or urination, it may be that they enter a new area filled with strange smells, or they smell the feces of another dog.
Ground scratching is not a unique behavior of dogs, but other mammals do too such as wolves and lions. Carlo Siracusa, a behavioralist from the University of Pennsylvania’s College of Veterinary Medicine, said that research on the habits of other animals, especially wolves, provides valuable clues to dog behavior research.
Siracusa explained: “In the case of wolves, wolves are animals those living in packs, so the act of scraping or scratching the ground is related to their social nature. To prove the domination the wolf will divide the territory and declare their sovereignty by barking and scraping the land, This tells other wolves that if they cross the border, they may be attacked. ”
So to leave this geographical mark of having a supreme power of a particular area they leave two main characteristics: the first is the visual mark, that is, the scratch left on the ground and the second is the smell, such as urine, or the smell of the glands secreting liquid during the process of surface shaving.
Siracusa said: “This is the theory behind it. You either look at the line I am drawing or smell my smell.”
But after all, the wolf mentioned above, if it is a dog? then what? The domestic dog usually has trees or grass on the side, especially if it is squirted, which is similar to the behavior of the wolf indicating. In addition, the dog’s claws seem to secrete a special marker fluid.
Bescoby said: “Although it is not clear whether other dogs can smell the scratches from the soil, we know that there are sweat glands on the dog’s foot pads and sebaceous glands in the hair between the toes.”
Bescoby adds that these glands also secrete pheromones. That is to say, these pheromones leave in the soil and then spread out with the dust in the process of the dog’s scratching, which gives other dogs a chemical signal. Since it is not clear what the role of these pheromones is, it is difficult to draw conclusions about what the dog has sent to other dogs. But like a wolf, the dog is posted a notice.
Is this behavior aggressive?
For the wolf, the scratching is obviously aggressive, but for domestic dogs, it is much more subtle. Siracusa believes that this is because domestic dogs do not need to manage their “sites” like wild animals.
Therefore, ground scratching is more a way to inform other dogs of their existence than to warn other dogs to stay away from the area. This may reduce the possibility of two strange dogs meeting each other in this small place. As like they want to say:
“I left this note and told you that I am nearby. If you know me, our two friendships are not bad, then you are welcome to stroll; but if we have contradictions, maybe you should leave here, otherwise, we may want a fight.”
In Siracusa’s pet clinical work, he also noticed that the act of scratching ground is common in dogs that are less secure. However, this does not mean all dogs those do ground scratching are anxious, it is completely natural.
Siracusa said that for the restless dogs, the scratching may be that they are “trying to control the area to make it safer” because “it may have social phobias and don’t want to see other dogs at all.”
If the owners see their dogs on the ground scratching, Siracusa recommends not to interrupt or bother them.
“In general, we all recommend that the dog owners should not try to stop the dog’s scraping. This is their instinct, preventing the dog from making it impossible to exchange information with other animals, only to make the dog feel like he is Weak.”
So is the Ground scratching problem for the dogs? is certainly not a problem. “Only the owners who had been smothered the grass and soil would complain,” Bescoby said.