Behavioral problems

My Dog Poops On the Wall

Matthew Nesbitt
By Matthew Nesbitt, Journalist specialized in animal research. May 21, 2020
My Dog Poops On the Wall

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Dogs defecate. It is a fact of dog nature and something we need to be very considerate of as a canine guardian. Since humans have domesticated dogs, the responsibility of cleaning up their feces is firmly on us. Picking up their poop is not always the most pleasant part of caring for dogs, but it has various benefits. The color and consistency of a dog's feces can tell us a lot about their health, so it gives us the opportunity to monitor their well-being.

While the type of feces can say a lot about a dog, it can be confusing when we see our dog defecates in a way different from the usual. If you find that your dog poops on the wall, it can seem like a very odd thing to do. AnimalWised explains why this behavior might happen and whether we need to do anything about it.

You may also be interested in: Why is my Dog Pooping in the House Suddenly?


  1. How do dogs poop?
  2. Marking territory
  3. Being cautious
  4. Agitation
  5. Seeking a mate
  6. What to do if a dog poops against the wall

How do dogs poop?

It may seem like an odd question, but it will help us find out why a dog might poop against a wall or another vertical surface. Dogs will squat down when they need to defecate, whether they are male or female. It is possible a dog which really needs to evacuate their bowels with do it without squatting, but this is less common.

Since the dog's excrement can be a hygiene problem, dog guardians teach their dogs to do their business outside the home. When we teach a dog to defecate outside, we usually give them a treat as positive reinforcement at the beginning. This not only encourages going outside, but doing it in the squatting position. This means pooping against a wall usually has some other reason behind it:

  • Marking territory
  • Being cautious
  • Agitation
  • Seeking a mate

We explain the reasons why a dog might poop against the wall in more detail below. However, it is important to know that it does not generally indicate the dog has any problem. This is unlike when dogs eat poop which can be a symptom of a physical or mental disorder.

Marking territory

It is common for us to a dog lift their dog to pee against a vertical surface such as a wall, tree, lamppost or whatever object it may be. While this is mainly a behavior of male dogs, some female dogs will do it also. The reason for this is because a dog will mark their territory in various ways. Urinating is the main method of marking territory, but they can also do this with their feces.

The reason for this is because when a dog defecates, they put pressure on their anal glands. The anal gland secretes a scent unique to the individual dog. When another dog comes along, they smell the feces as well as the scent secreted by the anal gland. The result is a warning that another dog is present in the area.

When a dog poops against a wall, they may be trying to mark their territory. Since the feces left on the wall is at nose level for many other dogs, the dog might be making a concerted effort to let others know they are present. The exact reason for a dog doing this is difficult to tell, but it is unlikely it is because there is a problem. Marking behavior is normal for a healthy dog.

My Dog Poops On the Wall - Marking territory

Being cautious

When you take your dog out to defecate, it is common you will see they look around when they squat. They may even look directly at you when they poop. When this happens, some people believe this is because they feel guilty or embarrassed. It is important we do not treat animals as if they have the same emotional capacity as humans.

When a dog looks around when they poop, the reason is mainly to do with security. Dogs in the wild are more vulnerable at different times. They know that defecating is an opportune time for a predator to make their move.

If a dog poops against a wall, it is possible they have chosen somewhere they know to be secure. It might not be that they feel particularly threatened. However, they may chose to poop against the wall in a given moment because they feel safer doing so. They know that a predator can't approach from behind and they can see well in front of them.

While pooping against a wall might make the dog feel safer, it doesn't necessarily mean they are particularly scared. It is likely a fairly arbitrary decision, unless it is something they do all the time.


There are various reasons why a dog may have an agitated anus. If they are ill or have just recovered from an illness, they may have issues with diarrhea. Unhealthy stool can agitate the anus during defecation which can be itchy for the dog.

Even sitting on something they shouldn't can cause a dog to have an agitated anus. However, one of the most common problems is an issue with their anal glands. If you see a dog's anal glands are swollen, they could be impacted or infected. A dog may poop against the wall or tree to help relieve the discomfort which comes with defecating.

In these circumstances, we need to take the dog to a veterinarian to have the glands examined. They may be expressed or given treatment in the case of an underlying problem.

Seeking a mate

The truth is that it is difficult to know exactly why a dog will poop against the wall in a given circumstance. We can try to deduce the issue by looking at the circumstance. In the case of female dogs, when they are in heat they try to attract a mate. Their hormones mean they will do what they can to do so.

When the female dog is in heat, the scent they leave with their anal glands will change. Male dogs which smell this scent are able to detect this change and seek them out. A female dog may poop against a wall to increase to males in her vicinity that she wants to attract a mate for fertilization.

Unless the dog is going to breed, they should be sterilized. This prevents unwanted pregnancies as well as health issues and behavioral problems in the dog. If it is the reason why the dog poops against the wall, it may also prevent this unwanted behavior.

My Dog Poops On the Wall - Seeking a mate

What to do if a dog poops against the wall

In the majority of cases, we should not do anything if our dog poops against the wall. It will usually be an isolated incident and, while it may be annoying to clean up, it won't be something we need to worry about.

We only need to take action when the dog poops against the way regularly. If the problem is a health issue, then we need to take them to the veterinarian to find out the underlying cause and treat it.

When the dog poops against the wall as a behavioral problem we need a two-part approach. Firstly, we need to work out if they are stressed, insecure or scared. In these circumstances, we need to work out why they are feeling this way and address it. This is particularly the case if the dog didn't do it before, but started to all of a sudden. If you cannot work out why the dog is stressed, you can contact a canine ethologist to help you.

You may also need to train them again as it is possible they have been incorrectly educated. In these cases, training them again can help them to change this behavior. Ensure you use positive reinforcement to be more effective and to ensure their well-being. To know more, read our article on why your dog is suddenly pooping in the house.

If you want to read similar articles to My Dog Poops On the Wall, we recommend you visit our Behavioral problems category.

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My Dog Poops On the Wall