Why Does My Dog Kick His Back Legs Like A Bull? 5 Common Reasons

Why does my dog kick his back legs like a bull? Scuffing is very common among canines. Discover the reasons behind why your dog kicks its back legs and uncover the truth behind this common behavior.

Understanding the Natural Instincts of Dogs

Dogs have a rich history as pack animals, and their behaviors are often influenced by their natural instincts. One such behavior is the kicking of their back legs, which can have various reasons behind it. By recognizing these natural instincts and behaviors, we can better understand our canine companions and provide them with the care and attention they need.

why does my dog kick his back legs like a bull

Why Does My Dog Kick His Back Legs Like A Bull?

Why is my dog kicking his back legs

Scuffing with its back legs is observed in many dogs. Most do it after elimination, but dogs will also exhibit this on other occasions. The following are the common explanations for why your dog exhibits the behavior:

1. Excitement or Feeling Playful

Dogs often engage in various playful actions, and kicking their back legs can be one of them. During playtime, dogs may exhibit the kicking behavior as a way to interact with toys, other dogs, or even their owners. It can be a playful gesture that adds excitement and fun to their interactions.

This innocent motivation behind the kicking behavior is a reflection of the joy and enthusiasm that dogs experience during play. It’s an opportunity for them to express their playful nature and engage in social bonding.

2. Marking Its Scent

Unlike cats, dogs that kick their back legs after eliminating aren’t trying to bury the fecal matter. The kicking motion allows canines to leave their scent on the surface. Like cats, dogs have scent glands all over their paws. Leaving its scent on the spot means that the dog is claiming it as his.

Take note that the scent that comes from a dog’s paws lingers on a surface longer than the smell of their urine. While human noses can’t pick it up, canines can easily distinguish if a fellow has been in that specific area.

3. Fear or Anxiety

Fear and anxiety can also play a significant role in a dog’s kicking behavior. When dogs feel threatened, scared, or anxious, they may resort to kicking their back legs as a defensive mechanism or a way to release tension.

Addressing fear and anxiety in dogs requires a patient and understanding approach. Providing a safe and secure environment, positive reinforcement training, and potentially seeking the guidance of a professional dog behaviorist can help alleviate these emotional influences.

4. Muscle Spasms or Tremors

Sometimes, the kicking of a dog’s back legs may be attributed to muscle spasms or tremors. Muscle spasms occur when the muscles contract involuntarily, causing a sudden and jerky movement. Tremors, on the other hand, are rhythmic and repetitive movements of the muscles.

There are several potential causes for muscle spasms or tremors in dogs. One common cause is dehydration, which can lead to electrolyte imbalances and muscle cramps. Another possible cause is musculoskeletal issues, such as arthritis or injury, which can result in muscle spasms as a protective mechanism.

It’s important to consult with a veterinarian if you notice your dog frequently kicking their back legs due to muscle spasms or tremors. They can perform a thorough examination and provide appropriate treatment to address the underlying physical causes.

5. Your dog is showing dominance

Lastly, the dog might be showing dominance over another canine. A dog will kick its back legs to mark the spot when feeling threatened. It’s like your dog saying, “Hey, other dogs, this is my territory”. The scent serves as a warning for other canines not to breach the territory.

On the other hand, some dogs will kick their back legs to show other dogs that they are submissive. This part is tricky and can be difficult to decipher at first glance.

Should I worry about this behavior?

dog kicking back legs

Most of the time, dog kicking back legs isn’t worrisome behavior. If your dog only does it randomly, it’s probably just a scent-marking habit. However, if there’s no apparent reason for marking and they’re doing it very often, you can always consult your dog’s vet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my dog kicking his back legs while lying down?

Your dog kicking its back legs while lying down might be a playful gesture. Some dogs will follow this with a rollover showing their belly.

But if your pooch is sleeping, it might be dreaming and reenacting the scene, which explains the bull kicking. However, if your dog can’t seem to stop or control the kicking, it’s best to consult the vet. While very rare, this can point to a health problem that requires immediate veterinary attention. Please read how to teach your dog to roll over.

Why does my dog kick his back legs like a bull when I scratch him?

why does my dog kick his back legs randomly

If your dog kicks its back legs when being petted or scratched, it might be a sign of happiness. Your dog probably enjoys the sensation, especially if you’re scratching him behind the ear. Canines have unique ways of expressing joy, which could include scuffing with their back legs.


Why does my dog kick his back legs after peeing?

It’s not to cover the pee but to leave its scent on the spot. Your dog does this to drive away other animals that will try to claim its potty spot.

Why does my dog kick his back legs on the carpet?

If you have a new carpet or recently cleaned the old ones, kicking its back legs on it is your dog’s way of re-marking the surface. The smell of newly bought or washed carpet is foreign to canines.

With that, they feel obliged to mark in any way they can. Watch out, though, since some canines won’t just mark it with their paw scent. Many times, the doggo will also spray urine on it. If your dog is notorious for this habit, putting a dog diaper on the pooch will save your carpet from the mess. Please read here how to make a dog diaper.


Why does my dog kick his back legs like a bull? It can be due to excitement, leaving its scent, or showing dominance to other canines. Most of the time, this is a harmless habit. But if you suspect that your dog is suffering from a health problem, it won’t hurt to consult the vet.

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