Why dogs do the scratching dance | NevadaAppeal.com

Why dogs do the scratching dance

Kathleen Williams-Miller

It never fails — the moment I bend down to pick up Watson's poop, he starts scratching the ground throwing clods of dirt, weeds and mud directly at me. I usually wait a minute or two to give him time to scratch before I bend down, but it doesn't matter because he's just waiting to get me. I wondered why he scratches because I have seen other dogs do the same thing. Curiosity got the best of me, so I decided to do some investigating.

Amazingly, as dogs kick up the dirt, they are leaving sophisticated messages. Dogs want others to know they've been there. It also serves as a trail marker for other dogs or to cement a memory of the place. The harder they scratch, the farther the message goes.

Glands in the feet secrete pheromones, a chemical that triggers social reactions from other dogs. Communicating through hormones may be the reason why dogs kick grass after pooping.

The messages that are passed on include claims on territory, sexual availability and warning of dangers.

Pheromones affect many aspects of a dog's behavior and physiology. Kicking up grass for a few seconds releases a whole bunch of pheromones and tells many tales to other dogs.

No wonder dogs are so curious about other dog's poop and urine. I have always joked about Watson reading the "pee-mail" at Laura Mills Park, and I guess I wasn't kidding.

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So, the only thing being harmed by the scratching dance is the grass. My suggestion is to take your dog for a walk in the weeds because with all that scratching going on, weeding is getting done and it's your buddy doing all the work.

IN NEED OF

Funds to replenish our veterinary account.

Shelving for storing supplies.

Aluminum cans, which we recycle to augment our shelter funds. We are now able to pick up cans from you. If you have cans to pick up, call 775-423-7500.

Volunteers to walk dogs and play with cats. Contact Karen at 775-423-7500.

SHOUT OUT TO

Adam Trumble, the editor of the Lahontan Valley News, for giving CAPS a voice in the community. We think you are swell!

Ott's Farm Equipment for the awesome new CAPS sign. Everyone is thrilled! A Four Paws Salute to you!

Diane Peters for your generous donation to pay for the mailing of our newsletter and for purchasing our fundraising puppy bank. All tails are wagging for you!

Janice Wood for being a sponsor of Bark in the Park.

COME SEE US

CAPS will be at Walmart tomorrow with the Kissin' Booth and a puckered-up pooch. Come by to get your pooch smooch. We have colorful caps and shirts, so be sure to check out the merchandise after you have loved on our pup.

DON'T FORGET

May Pet Holidays: National Dog Bite Prevention Week.

For every new account opened with Chewy, CAPS receives $20 directly deposited into its account. We have a direct link on our website at http://www.capsnevada.com.

Flower Tree Nursery will again be raffling a 20-gallon tree on June 15, and the winner doesn't have to be present. The raffle tickets are available at Flower Tree, and they are $1 for one ticket and $5 for six tickets.

CONTACT CAPS

CAPS' mailing address is P.O. Box 5128, Fallon, 89407. CAPS' phone number is 775-423-7500. CAPS' email address is caps@cccomm.net. Please visit the CAPS website (www.capsnevada.com) and Facebook page (Churchill Animal Protection Society). Be sure to "Like" CAPS on Facebook because we are really likable.

CAPS is open to the public on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Do you have questions, comments or a great story? Contact me, jkwmil@outlook.com.

Kathleen Williams-Miller is a CAPS volunteer.