How do Dogs Choose their Potty Spot?

Three Minutes
Apr 25, 2022

Why do dogs take so long to go potty? Why do they need to sniff around everywhere before they decide where to poop?  

There is science behind this behavior. There are four main factors dogs consider when choosing a place to go to the bathroom.  These can include: 

  • Other dogs’ scents and ‘places’ 
  • Anxiety 
  • Distractions of any sort 
  • Earth’s magnetic field/Magnetic poles 

Read more about these four factors below.

Knowing What’s Going On

Poop helps dogs understand the behavior of other dogs. The ability to smell is one of your dog’s most effective methods of communication. If you see him sniffing around for a while, he’s more than likely taking a look at the messages other animals have left.

Their sense of smell is so keen they are able to understand if a dog is a friend or an enemy, what the dog ate for lunch, and the sexual status of the other dog in the area. 

Anxiety and Nervousness

If your dog has anxiety, she may be anxious about where she uses the bathroom. Contrary to popular belief, many dogs (especially anxious dogs) enjoy their privacy. Some dogs will want a quiet, peaceful area.

Magnetic Poles 

The Earth’s magnetic fields are thought to be a reason your dog spins in a circle when she’s about to poop. Your dog may want to be aligned in the proper ‘area’ before she goes potty.

Wrapping it Up

It’s interesting that so many factors go into your dog’s decision to use the bathroom. Many people think they just walk and pick somewhere based on the ‘hey, this is a good spot,’ but in reality, your dog is scientifically searching. 

So next time your pup goes out and takes longer than normal – maybe consider these four factors that could be affecting your pup.

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.