Why Do Puppies Step In Their Own Poop? [Reasons + Do This]

On a beautiful sunny morning, you and your pooch go for a walk outside your house.

At once, while moving along, you see your puppy poop and then step on his poop and give a grin towards you, all within a second. “What’s wrong with my pooch” you might wonder. Seeing him step in his poop is weird!

Puppy step in their poop due to constipation, anxiety, over-excitement, poor bowel control, or maybe he wants to mark their territory and get attention. Positive reinforcement can prevent your dog from stepping on poop. If not, you can seek help from a vet.

I’m not going to make you get lost in the woods. Let’s get into the “why’s” a bit deeper.

Why does your puppy walk in his poop?

Let’s check this out more briefly.

1. “It’s my territory.”

Sometimes, like some humans, our puppies too might need their empire to build, especially a place in the home. As a result, they figure out various ways to have their territory. This can be a bit of a hassle when your pooch shows different unfavorable behavior.

Puppy pooping while walking and stepping on his poop with that specific grin on his face could be a part of his mastermind to building his empire! He tries to spread the scent all over the area he wants to get into his hand.

Other than this territorial marking, symptoms can include,

  • Aggressive barking
  • Lunging
  • Howling
  • Snapping
  • Freezing in place
  • Trying to chase over people

2. “Is this some kind of yummy thing?”

Poor pooch does not know what it is! Yes, you might know it is “puppy poop”, but the little one is still growing up and trying to learn things in his new environment. So this explorative part of the puppy may lead them to try all the stuff.

Stepping on his poop might even mean that he is trying to figure it out!

3. Constipation.

You might wonder how stepping on poop is related to constipation. It might not be of direct concern, yet it can be a direct course to be pointed out. If your puppy is going through constipation, he will attempt to pass out his feces several times.

After all, he might not even know where he is pooing and would be stepping on his poop unknowingly.

The symptoms of constipation might include,

  • Hard,pebble-like stool
  • Mucus with stool
  • Difficult defaecation
  • Crouching when attempting to pass out feces
  • Discomfort

4. Attention-seeking.

Here’s a “naughty boy” on the way! Have you ever given special attention when he poops and stamps that with his little paws? Did you do that more than once?

Then he might have figured out that stepping out on poop can quickly bring your attention to him! If you have been giving him little attention more than he is willing to, then why not? He might have not tried it.

5. Suffering from bowel incontinence.

Coming into this, let me define bowel incontinence. Bowel incontinence is the loss of the ability to control bowel movements. Specifically, we can identify two leading causes of bowel incontinence in pooches,

  • Reservoir incontinence: This relates to issues in the rectum that prevent stool from being held in a usual manner.
  • Sphincter incontinence relates to issues when the anal sphincter cannot be closed properly.

Both can cause stool to leak over, and the poor puppy has no control over it. So pooping on the walk and stepping it on the way can result from this.

Suggested Reading: Why do some dogs lay in their own poop?

6. “I used to do it. I am doing it.”

Yes, simply maybe your puppy has been used to stepping on his poop for some reason before, and perhaps he can’t get rid of it now! He is stuck in a bad habit. We can say. The poor one can’t get out of it!

7. “I feel lonely.”

Did you leave your pooch alone when you are going to work, or did you change your home sweet home after a few years? Does your puppy have mood swings more than usual? If the answer is “yes” on your side, there might be an issue.

He might be undergoing separation anxiety all alone himself. Separation anxiety relates to the anxiety one can be diagnosed with when separated from a loved one.

Yes, this might not be directly linked with a puppy stepping on poop, yet pooping unconsciously might be. As he goes along with stool leaking due to anxiety, he might accidentally step on it. Other symptoms of separation anxiety include,

  • Barking and howling
  • Urinating and defecating
  • Escaping
  • Over-eating or not eating at all
  • Chewing and destruction

8. Hyper-excitement.

Some puppies are over-excited, even for the tiniest thing. So, one Saturday morning, you both might be going on a walk.

Your puppy becomes over-excited about something and just poops and moves over it like an excited weird little boisterous kid!

9. “Bad diet day!”

Last yet not least. At this point, the diet which you give to your puppy is indeed vital. If he has had a bad diet day, he surely needs help with his tummy going on the other way around!

His diet may lead him to poop in an unusual way which is even hard to control. Poor poop, then I might have stepped on poop accidentally again!

What to do when your puppy steps on its poop?

1. Keep calm.

This might be a pretty challenging task at the moment like this. Yet tensing yourself and getting yourself tensed won’t do any good. Therefore, stay calm and think to yourself about what to do next.

2. “Pick, pick, pick.”

You can’t just leave the poop over where your puppy pooped. As a dog parent, as you might have been carrying a dog poop bag pick up the poop into the poop bag and clean off the place. Yes, it might be stinking, but what else have you got to do in the first place?

3. “Let the hose do the thing.”

You are the lucky folk if you could find a hose nearby where your puppy pooped. So at this point, let the hose do the thing. Wash over the stool pieces left in the puppy and the surroundings as possible.

4. “Nearest bathtub.”

Not all of us would find a hose down the lane, but we would somehow find the nearest bath place, wouldn’t we? So take your blossom buddy to the nearest bath place and give a good bath and clean him off!

5. “Make him calm too.”

He might be panicking too in a certain way, so if it is possible, you can give it a try by trying to manage it by praising him with loving words as much as possible. He is just like a toddler, after all!

How to teach your puppy to stay away from stepping in its poop?

1. “Positive reinforcement training!”

I’m sure that, as dog parents, you are familiar with the positive reinforcement technique. If not, positive reinforcement can be defined as rewarding for specific favorable behavior. Let’s try it out!

If your puppy poops unusually and steps upon the stool in the first place, observe his behavior and when he acts as he does. Then with proper observation, every time he listens to you or maybe in schedules, give him a treat of praise.

It can be a kong toy to play with, some of his favorite food according to his health conditions, and even praises itself with a pat on the head. With these, he will eventually begin to desensitize his unfavorable actions.

2. “Don’t watch him out.”

“Oh, this is pretty rude” this might have run into your mind over a second seeing this. Yet, if you feel like he is being a “naughty boy” just because he needs to get your attention, the best thing is “not” to give him your attention.

Then he will reduce the habit with time as his plans are not successful!

3. “Take him to the veterinarian.”

The moment your instincts say and when you see specific symptoms of your puppy, make sure you consult a veterinarian.

Even if the symptoms are not severe, make sure you give him the proper treatment, so he doesn’t have to suffer when he grows up from something from his juvenile stage.

Things to be aware of.

1. Be vigilant.

It is vital to stay acknowledged of the movements of your puppy since he is growing upstage. Ensuring that he gets the proper love, care and affection is a massive responsibility as a dog parent.

2. “No punishing”

The poor pooch will never understand the language of punishments. The more you try to raise your voice, the more he will get scared. This could even be traumatic to the little one at some point.

Therefore instead of punishing him, make sure you use the method of praising him for making him reduce his unfavorable actions.


In conclusion, I hope you got a brief idea of why your puppy steps in his poop, what to do about it, etc.

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