Why Dogs Spin Before Pooping


It might not be the biggest question in the forefront of your mind, but when your dog does his, or her, ablutions you may wonder –  just what is all the spinning about?  Read our Holidays4Dogs article to find out why dogs spin before pooping.

There are many theories out there, but the most prominent is amongst scientists, who suggest dogs defecate according to the earth’s magnetic field. According to scientists at the Czech University of Life Sciences, dogs are very sensitive to magnetic fields.

What’s more, they found that dogs prefer to do their business along the north/south axis, especially under calm magnetic field conditions.

Magnetoreception – being the technical term for compass bottom – doesn’t only manifest itself in dogs. Cattle, too, have been found to align themselves with the earth’s magnetic field when they get the call of nature.

This reminds us, always pick up after your dog around livestock. Canine deposits can be a health hazard to other animals. Scoop the poop and bin it, or take it home.

There are other explanations for why our dogs have a habit of spinning before they feel happy enough to poop.

Some experts think that, because dogs may once have been a target for predators, circling may be one way to make sure there are no potential threats nearby.

Another explanation why dogs spin before pooping is associated with scent marking. As well as urine, dogs use faeces as chemical signals to mark territory. Circling and sniffing may be the dog’s way of computing this information.

In addition, trampling down grass before leaving their ‘business’ card, means it is easier for other dogs to see. Scratching the ground after the dog has toileted, also adds more scent to the area.


There seems to be no conclusive answer why dogs spin before pooping. However, whatever the reason for it – it gives the responsible dog owner a fair warning to get the poop bags at the ready.