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Have you ever taken your dog out, just to stand around for what seems like an eternity waiting for your dog to do his or her business? It can be quite annoying watching your dog take his or her sweet time to poop, especially when you hoped it would be a quick trip. But there are actually a few reasons why it takes dogs so long to go to the bathroom. We detail them below:
One of the more obvious reasons why dogs take a while to poop is because of scent marking and social cues. Dogs use their urine and feces to leave information on the ground, particularly through scent. This instinctual behavior is found in wolves, as well as domesticated dogs. And the most well-known reason why dogs leave their scent is to mark their territory and say "keep out."
But dogs use scent-marking to communicate other things too, including: how many dogs are in the area, if they're friendly or not, their sexual status (e.g. if a female dog is in heat), among others. These scents and social cues can influence when and where your dog poops. In fact, another dog's scent can trigger your dog's urge to defecate.
Another reason dogs take so long to go to the bathroom has to do with their internal poop compass. What is this, you ask? Research has found that dogs like to go to the bathroom by aligning themselves with the Earth's magnetic fields - particularly along a north-south axis. So they have internal compasses that determine where to go, according to those fields. Have you ever watched your dog spin in circles before squatting? It's usually because he or she is trying to align themselves with the magnetic fields.
While these two aforementioned reasons offer some explanation for why dogs take so long to poop, there is another: every dog is a unique individual with his or her own preferences and personality. For example, some dogs are simply more picky or choosy when it comes to finding a desirable spot to go. On the flip side, some dogs don't care at all and will go pretty much anywhere.
Pro Tip: If you want to speed up your dog's pooping process, you can train your dog to obey a bathroom command. Just make sure to be consistent and use positive reinforcement.