Why does my dog poop so much on walks?

Dog poop is not a topic that is high on our list of things to discuss when it comes to our dogs and understandably so. 

Did you know that in the U.S. alone dogs produce about ten million tonnes of poop

And of course for individual owners it can be a huge issue- clearing up after your dog whilst out on a walk can be a real headache.

So why do dogs poop so much on walks? Hopefully this article contains all the answers you need. 

Why does my dog poop so much on walks?

In trying to answer this question, I will answer two smaller questions that are closely related.

Why does my dog poop so much? 

There is a relationship between how much a dog poops and the quality of food that he is eating. 

Most commercial dog food contains “filler”. Filler is an ingredient in dog food that adds “bulk” or volume to the food but doesn’t add nutritional value.  Typical fillers include fibre in beans or beet pulp or corn meal.

Because these ingredients have no nutritional value, the body can’t digest them and so they just add to the volume of poop!

I just want to share with you a quick story. 

I own golden retrievers. About four years ago we switched our three Goldies from good quality dry kibble to a raw food diet because the two youngest ones had frequent tummy upsets.

Not only did switching to a raw diet sort out their stomach upsets but it had an incredible impact on the amount of poop. 

Switching to raw food cut the amount of poop by at least half if not two thirds. 

I was gobsmacked by this change because I hadn’t even considered it before.

Their raw food has absolutely no filler in it and most of the food can be absorbed by the body cutting down massively on the waste that they need to poop.

If you want your dog to poop less on a walk, you need to choose a high quality food that contains less filler.

And now I will look at a second question, which is what makes dogs poop when they are out on walks in the first place.

Why do dogs poop in multiple spots?

I heard an interesting statistic the other day- that in the U.K. there are now nine million dogs. 

That is the equivalent of 1 dog for every 6 people!

The upshot of this is that no matter where you live and walk your dogs, there will be a large dog population. 

Your dog poops for a variety of reasons. 

Of course, the most obvious one is that they need to go to “potty”.

But dogs also use their stool as a form of communication.

And when your dog is on a walk it is smelling all of these other dogs.

When a dog poops, they also leave a unique scent which comes out of their anal glands.

This identifies them and the poop acts as a marker which says “I have been here”.

And marking is also the reason why, after pooping, your dog sometimes scratches the ground as they walk away.

Because there are scent glands in your dog’s paw and by scratching, they are leaving a scent. 

This is why your dog sometimes smells other dog’s poop because they are checking out what other dogs have visited this area. 

How to stop a dog pooping so much on a walk

Firstly, as I have already said, you need to look at feeding your dog a high quality food with less filler.

Secondly, if necessary, you can train your dog to poop in one location so that they don’t poop so much on a walk. 

How to get a dog to poop in one place

Did you know that you can get your dog to poop in response to a verbal command?

There are several steps in achieving this and it is important that you have lots of patience, that you always stay positive and that it won’t always work 100% of the time because nothing ever does.

The first step is to find an ideal location and choosing this can be quite a challenge!

For many of you, the easiest and most logical choice is your garden or yard.

But some of you will have dogs which will not willingly poop on their territory. 

And so you will need to find another spot, which is close to your home and where your dog is allowed to poop.

The next step is to take your dog there at the right time.

For most dogs this will be between 30 minutes and 1 hour after they have last eaten.

And for most dogs as long as the timing is right, it should be as simple as that. 

Once they have performed, quickly give them lots of verbal praise and a small treat. 

Now if your dog just refuses to go in this new spot or just stares at you blankly instead of sniffing around, this location needs to be associated with pooping.

And so the easiest way of doing this is to put some of your dog’s excrement in the area and this should be all the encouragement that they need!

Over time, you can then just cut out the treats and just give them lots of verbal praise. 

Dog poop starts solid then soft

Many dog owners report that within a few minutes on a walk the consistency of poop changes from firm to soft or even runny.

This is very common in dogs and it doesn’t mean that there is anything medically wrong with your dog. 

It can be put down to a touch of excitement (or stress) on the part of your dog but it also relates to how within a dog’s body poop is made.

You see, the firm stools that you see at the start of a walk have been “ready to go” and waiting in your dog’s body for a few hours. 

They are the result of the digestion process perhaps overnight (if you are walking in the morning) or a result of the digestion process during the day (if you are walking in the evening.) 

They are produced because your dog needs to get rid of waste. 

The softer and runnier versions that come a bit later in a walk have been created far faster by your dog’s body.

They aren’t created so much because your dog needs to get rid of waste but because your dog in their excitement wants to leave a message or scent for other dogs that they have “been here.”

If, instead of your dog’s poop changing from solid to soft during a walk, your dog’s poop is diarrhea like throughout, then you should book in a time to visit your vet.

Why does my dog walk and poop at the same time?

Another pooping related behaviour that has many owners perplexed is, why their dog walks while pooping?

There are many reasons for this: and scent marking and runny poops are included in this list.

I have a 13 year old golden retriever who does it because the muscles in her back legs are strong enough to keep her stationary as she poops. 

But if you want to know more, I have written an article listing six reasons why dogs walk while pooping

Closing Thoughts

Owning a dog that poops a lot whilst walking can be incredibly difficult for some people particularly if there aren’t any bins to dispose of the poop, or the poop is so soft that it is hard to pick up.

If this is a problem that you are facing day after day, I think that your best chance of success is to look at buying a higher quality dog food that contains less filler in it. 

This should mean that your dog will not be producing as much poop wherever you take them for a walk