Why do some dogs pee on people?

Why do some dogs pee on people?

Pet Psychology

Most dog owners are lucky enough to never have to face what is usually a very awkward situation-their dog peeing on someone’s leg, either someone that you know and are talking to at the time or even worse, a total stranger. If this has ever happened with your dog, you were likely to be mortified and mad in equal measure, with a lot of apologising to do in order to make things right!

If this is a problem that you face with your own dog, you are no doubt anxious to get to the bottom of things and work out exactly why it is happening and put a stop to it before your dog strikes again, as it were. Being able to do this involves finding out why your dog might be behaving in such a strange manner and correcting it.

In this article we will talk about why some dogs pee on people, and what you can do to correct this behaviour. Read on to learn more.

Urine and scent marking

Dogs pee when, where and how they do for a variety of different reasons, not all of which are related to a need to empty their bladders! For male dogs, even the process of cocking a leg to pee is a deliberate behaviour, because by doing this, male dogs can “hit the target” higher up than if they squat, which serves to distribute their urine and so, scent mark over a larger area.

When your dog pees on a person’s leg-and it is usually male dogs that do this due to logistics if nothing else-this is again a form of scent marking, and exactly why your dog might want to scent mark a person can have many potential answers too!

For some dogs, they are apt to sprinkle more or less everything that they pass when out on walking and sniffing around-you might have seen this if your dog is the type that can’t get more than a few yards on a walk without watering the flowers! In this case, your dog might not even really be aware that it is an actual person that there are urinating on, simply that the leg in question is another piece of furniture in the background of their awareness that does not smell the way they think it should!

However, for many dogs there are a complex set of factors in play that can lead to them deciding to use an unsuspecting person’s leg as a tree.

Urinating in excitement

Dogs that are very excited may pee due to said excitement, although even dogs that do this regularly will not tend to target people. If your dog is hugely excited to greet you after you get home from work, sees a favourite friend that they haven’t met for a while or is playing or otherwise highly stimulated and excited, they might urinate without even really realising it.

This is much more common in puppies and younger dogs than it is in older dogs, so if this is happening with your puppy, if you are lucky they might outgrow the behaviour!

Submissive signals

Dogs also urinate to indicate submission to another dog or person, which is particularly common in dogs that tend to be very shy or nervous. Telling your dog off in this situation will not help at all, but instead, you will have to spend some time and effort working with your dog to re-train and recondition them and their responses to people.

Submissive urination is most common in tinybreeds of dog, such as the Chihuahua.

If your dog is giving out signals that they are nervous or do not wish to be introduced to someone new, such as by avoiding eye contact, keeping a low profile and being reluctant to come forwards, let them be, and do not force an introduction.

Territorial marking

Dogs are very territorial animals who soon establish what they think of as theirs in terms of their home and garden, and they will soon become alert to any new sights and sounds that enter said territory. Dogs tend to scent mark around the borders of their territory and also, onto anything notable within the territory, particularly anything that is new or unusual to them.

If your dog tends to pee on people that come to your home but they do not act in this way when you are out walking or otherwise away from home, they may simply be marking their territory, in which case you should work to reduce their territorial urges and how they defend and treat their territory.

Resource guarding behaviour

In a similar vein to territorial marking, many dogs display resource guarding behaviour to some extent, which is what occurs when your dog decides that an object or person is “theirs,” and wants to keep other dogs and people away! Dogs most commonly resource guard their food and toys, but if this extends to their owners, they might pee on either said owner or whoever happens to be talking to them at the time!

This is in order to either let the stranger know that the dog’s owner is their person, or to “add” the newcomer to the resources that the dog sees as theirs! Much as is the case with territorial marking, working to reduce your dog’s resource guarding will help to eliminate the problem.



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