If your dog’s kicking isn’t aligning with some of the common reasons, you may have more questions about this behavior. Dog trainers are used to these questions, and most have simple answers. Here are the most commonly asked questions about dogs kicking out their back legs.
Why Do Dogs Kick Their Back Legs When Scratched?
When dogs kick their back legs while being petted or scratched, it’s usually a show of happiness. It usually means they’re enjoying the scratching sensation. This is another way of them expressing their joy. It’s a widespread canine reaction to any petting, especially when you scratch behind their ears.
This response is a scratch reflex. It’s an involuntary response much like our own human reflexes. When nerves under the area being scratched pass a message to the dog’s spinal cord telling their legs to kick, this message bypasses the brain making the kicking automatic. This can explain why some dogs look confused at their reactions to petting.
This behavior shouldn’t be any cause for concern, as long as your pup isn’t showing any signs of anxiety or aggression. Observe your dog’s behavior and learn their habits. Each dog is different and will show different behaviors when happy—kicking or scuffing may be your dog’s happy dance.
Why Does My Dog Kick While Lying Down?
If you notice your dog kicking while lying down, it is probably a playful gesture and nothing to worry about. Some dogs will kick their back legs out and roll over to show their belly. This is a sign that they’re comfortable with you. If your dog is kicking while sleeping, they may be dreaming and physically acting out the scene. This is also nothing to worry about.
However, if your dog cannot control their kicking whilst lying down, you may need to consult a vet. Though rare, this could indicate a health problem that will need immediate veterinary attention.
Why Do Dogs Kick After Peeing?
When your dog is kicking after peeing, it’s usually to leave their scent on the spot, not to cover the pee. This is linked to dog’s instincts to protect their territory and to drive away any other animals. The spot is theirs and theirs only!
Kicking their hind legs after peeing could also show that they’re trying to get a little pee off of their back paws. Kicking and shaking is a way to get their urine off of themselves and to clean themselves.
My Dog Keeps Kicking Their Back Legs On The Carpet
If your dog is kicking their back legs onto the carpet, it’s another case of them trying to mark their spot. This may be more noticeable if you’ve just had your carpets cleaned or have bought a new carpet. They’re just re-marking their scent into the floor since fresh or washed carpet is a foreign smell.
Be careful, though, as sometimes dogs will go further than marking it with their paw scent. Sometimes dogs will spray urine on it to make sure they’ve kept their territory well. If you know your dog is prone to this behavior, you can try putting a dog diaper on them to save your carpet from unwanted sprays.
Are The Kicks Caused By Cramps?
Usually, dogs kick for behavioral reasons. However, if you suspect that cramps and muscle spasms are the cause, make sure to phone the vet right away. Muscle spasms can cause leg kicks involuntarily, this can happen if your dog overexerted their legs, or it could also be caused by neurological conditions.
Another reason some dogs may constantly kick their back legs is that they’re dealing with nerve damage. Older dogs may end up with arthritis from the kicking habit.