Why Does my Dog Walk and Poop And How Bad Is It?

Published on
why does my dog walk and poop

Why does my dog walk and poop at the same time? There are several reasons why your dog walks and poops.

Most of the time, dogs walk and poop because of a poor diet or they simply do it out of a habit.

Dogs are wired to do various things out of habit and this is simply one of those things. Below, we are going to talk more about this concern and whether or not it is good or bad.

4 Reasons why your dog Walks and Poops at the Same Time

Unfortunately for dog owners, there are numerous reasons for this unpleasant habit. Here’s a list of those reasons: 

Out of Habit

The basic rules of habit also apply to dogs. That means, your dog is capable of forming habits as humans do. It can pick up new habits from watching other dogs and not being reprimanded for bad behaviour.

Dogs generally pick up on new skills and behaviour as puppies, and these habits spill over into adulthood.

If your dog walked and pooped as a puppy, chances are it will keep doing it until you decide to do something about it. 

Old dogs don’t usually learn new tricks, but they can change their habits, especially if they’re surrounded by other dogs that behave differently. 

Trying to break a dog’s nasty habit is tough, to say the least, and it requires lots of discipline and focus. 

Study shows that it takes dogs about 2 weeks to experience behavioural change and about 6 to 9 weeks[1] to either revert to their old ways or adopt a new behaviour altogether.

Here are 4 ways to get your dog to curb a bad habit: 

  • Teach it a new habit by demonstrating
  • Have a command word to stop your dog from doing the opposite of what you want
  • Take on a reward-based approach. Reward your dog with a treat or a pat when it gets something right
  • Consistency is key and practice makes perfect

Lack of bowel control 

Sometimes dogs completely or partially lose the ability to control their bowel movements, often as a result of some illness or injury.

A lack of bowel control, medically known as faecal incontinence[2], is a common condition that typically affects older dogs. 

Infections, parasites, diseases and muscle damage are factors that can cause a dog’s anal opening and rectum to malfunction.

A dog that’s unable to control its bowel movement will often walk and poop at the same time. 

Emotional outbursts

In some cases, your dog walking and pooping may just be the result of an emotional outburst. Most commonly excitement or anxiety. 

In either case, your pup’s bowel muscles will relax, forcing him to defecate while walking.

Poor diet

Like humans, canines need to follow a healthy and well-balanced diet. The opposite may negatively impact their bowel movements and habits. 

When dogs ingest anything that their systems don’t tolerate or identify as potentially dangerous, they’ll experience loose stools which are harder to control.

Why Does My Dog Walk and Poop In Circles?

It’s dog nature to feel the need to leave their scent wherever they go, and it just so happens that their scent is concentrated in their anal sacs.

Every time a dog defaecates, its anal sac releases a small amount of fluid, this is called expression. [3]

That fluid contains DNA and other information. That said, dogs will often try to get that fluid on as large a surface as possible, which is ultimately why they walk in circles while they relieve themselves. 

Why Does My Dog Run Away While Pooping?

To most dog owners, canines running away while pooping may seem very strange, but it’s pretty common behaviour for dogs. You can read our other behaviour articles to learn more about your dog.

Mainly, hounds display this strange behaviour out of excitement, distress or because they’re trying to mark their territory. 

They mark their territory

Often canines will leave their urine or at times faeces around their home, this is called marking or communicative behaviour.

It’s a way for them to communicate with other dogs and ultimately let them know that that specific area is taken. 

If you notice your four-legged friend urinating or defecating on upright objects, don’t fret, it is simply marking its territory. This behaviour is prevalent in male dogs. 

While marking is normal, it can get out of hand, especially if your dog is doing it in response to stress, sexual arousal or anxiety. For that reason, you should resort to training or neutering to curb the issue.[4]

Dogs get excitement 

Canines have lots of pent up energy that needs to be released regularly. That is why partaking in activities like walking your dog and playing fetch is very important. 

Once that pent up energy accumulates, pups get over-excited and this much becomes evident in their behaviour. Your dog pooping and running is a possible sign of over-excitement. 


There are various causes of stress for canines and since they can’t communicate as humans do, they will try to get their owner’s attention through other means. Like running and pooping for instance. 

Here are some indicators that your dog is stressed: 

  • Pacing 
  • Shedding
  • Panting
  • Barking excessively 
  • Change in behaviour 

4 Reasons Why Older Dogs Walk and Poop

We’ve established that there are numerous reasons as to why dogs poop while walking, but when it comes to older dogs, the options are narrowed significantly. 

Older dogs often relieve themselves while walking, because they’ve lost the ability to control their bowel movement, either because of muscle atrophy or Faecal incontinence. 

Muscle atrophy 

In a nutshell, muscle atrophy is the loss of muscle tissue, it affects dogs and humans alike.

While several factors such as injury or surgery can trigger the condition, sometimes it’s simply the result of the natural ageing process.

Older dogs mostly experience muscle atrophy in their hind legs, which affects their flexibility and ability to walk, let alone run. As a result, with each passing day walking becomes more of a challenge. 

Ultimately, older dogs end up pooping while walking, because they can’t walk fast enough to find an appropriate spot to relieve themselves and also standing still puts lots of strain on their legs.

They can’t control their bowel movements 

Lack of bowel control can be the result of either Reservoir Inconvenience or Sphincter Incontinence. 

Reservoir inconvenience

Reservoir incontinence[5] has to do with the rectum. Diseases and disorders like cancer, chronic diarrhoea and inflammatory bowel disease can affect the rectum to the point where it’s unable to store stool as usual.

This ultimately makes it very hard to control the urge to poop. 

Sphincter incontinence 

The anal opening is mostly made of muscle that helps keep the opening closed.

However, with Sphincter Incontinence, the muscles surrounding the anal opening weaken significantly to the point where the opening can no longer remain in a closed position.

When that happens, canines have very little control over when they pass stool.

How To Stop Your Dog From Walking While Pooping? 

As with anything else, to prevent your pup from walking and pooping you first need to understand why it does it in the first place. Simply put, you have to understand the root cause behind this unpleasant habit. 

The following are ways to deal with the leading causes: 


Dogs with accumulated energy often express their need to release that energy through exaggerated behaviour.

To deal with this, you’ll simply need to take your pet out on a walk or a play date in your backyard. 


You may need to consider professional training if your pet can’t seem to get enough of marking its territory all over the house. Alternatively, you can opt for Neutering, which is a more extreme solution. 

Lack of Bowel Control 

Bowel control is a lot harder to treat because in most cases, vets will recommend surgery. For that reason, it’s easier to shift the focus to managing the issue as opposed to treating it. 

One way to go about it is to have your pet adopt a curated diet. That way, you can track its bowel movement and take the necessary precautionary measures. 

Here are some pointers:

  • Train your pet to poop in one spot 
  • Anticipate when it is going to pass stool and take it to the designated pooping area before it happens 

The Bottom Line

Given that there’s a wide range of reasons for your dog walking and pooping, you’ll need to carefully observe its behaviour to determine the leading cause. Only then will you have a winning chance of curbing the habit. 

In the case that the leading cause is of a medical nature, such as reservoir Incontinence, you’ll need to speak to your vet for professional advice. 

If you think your dog has a poor diet, you can always read our dog food reviews here. This way, you can find out what kind of food matches your dog.

Photo of author
Larissa Musangu
I'm a seasoned dog lover and companion. I've noticed that there are numerous misconceptions regarding dog nutrition, which is why I've taken it upon myself to share actionable, accurate and research-backed advice on best-practices for feeding our four-legged friends.

Save 35% Off Your First Autoship Order

Get 5% off future orders and 35% off your first Autoship order.

If you click on the button below, we will take you to Chewy's exclusive page.

dog sitting

Leave a Comment