Why Does My Dog Pee Everywhere?

Fire hydrants are ranked highly among the long
suffering victims of recklessly urinating dogs!
Throughout the ages, people who talk about dogs have often pondered and speculated about the peculiar canine act known as "marking." Dogs will sniff very excitedly over every possible nook and cranny they think they can stick their nose in. Sometimes they will skim over certain areas and pay little attention to them, and other times they will stick their nose as far down into the grass as possible and sniff like their lives depend on it.

Often, dogs - both male and female - will smell an area and then pee right then and there, or close by. As the dog's owner, you can perceive that in most cases, when a dog is peeing on a tree or hydrant in your area, it is likely one that has been peed on by one, or many, other dogs.

Much of the talk has been about dogs using their urine as a way to show dominance, ownership, or communicate in some way. This idea can be taken in a couple of directions. Male dogs seem to pee every which way they can, sometimes lifting their leg and sometimes not. Female dogs rarely, and some never, lift their leg to urinate. Not much research has been done on this aspect of things, meaning we don't really know why boys lift their legs and girls don't. Maybe it's just the difference in the plumbing?

So, back to the “why” of it all.

First, keep in mind that these are just the prevailing theories. We don't have an exact answer, but we'll start by exploring the ideas of peeing to show dominance or mark territory. Some researchers have thought that a dog likes to spread their pee around so that when the next dog comes, they will know that the first dog lives in that area, and therefore has a sense of ownership over it. By this theory, they are telling the next dog “this is my turf", like a gangster tagging a wall.

As for female dogs, while many believe they are less likely to be the "dominant" dog at home, they apparently do like to tell others that they have been in the area. Using this line of thinking, if a female dog has not been spayed, they will also use their urine to attract male dogs (yuck!) and also to tell them they are looking to hook up (double yuck!). But then, even when a girl dog has been spayed, she will sometimes pee in a few different places, and maybe sometimes pee right over a spot where her housemate has gone. This still may be to show dominance...or it could be another reason entirely.

So what is it?

Well, if we are talking about dogs peeing solely for communication, and not to claim their turf, then it could be just a head's up to others that they are around. We have talked about dog's sense of smell, and how they roll on clean laundry to put their scent back onto it. We don't think of this as a "dominant" thing as much as a way to show that the family unit is connected by something, in this case, doggy scent.

So that being said, a dog, whether boy or girl, may just want to say "Yo, listen up. This is an area I hang out in, and this is what's up." See, dogs use their sense of smell as a big part of communicating, and some researchers have thought that it is possible that dogs pee on a well-used area as a sort of communal bulletin board. While thinking about this in human terms is unappealing, as we tend to prefer our community bulletin boards to be free from bodily fluids and other such things, to a dog this may be quite natural. According to this theory, they use their pee to transfer information, like a smelly flash drive stored inside your pup's bladder!

The last thought on the subject that was found is the idea that dogs urinate to release the energy that’s pent up inside of them. The research we read spoke of it as a sexual energy (researchers seem to make everything into something sexual), but it seems likely that it could also be a sense of excitement or vigor. Sometimes people will say that their dog peed on a person they were talking to, or even on the owner themselves, on a walk or in the house. This is hard to explain, especially if this is not a typical behavior for your dog. So if we take this idea of urinating to express energy, it could have a basis in truth. When a dog feels tension from you, whether it is excitement or nervousness, they get excited and may use peeing on the person to calm themselves down. This would come to bear that they are excited outside also, with all the smells and sounds and sights they see and whatnot, and they use peeing to get some of that tension out and relax a bit.

We really don't know for sure, although much more research has been done on this subject in recent years. It's a fun, if a bit strange, subject to think about. Whatever the reason, we hope this article has both entertained you and made you think about dog pee a little bit. Now take Fido outside, there's this spot he missed last time, you see...


  1. My male never lifted his leg until he was about 12 years old. Now sometimes he does, and sometimes he doesn't. I have a female Bichon I adopted at 8 years old. She is 10 now. She usually squats, but lifts her leg alot of the time, and seems to mark territory like my male. They are both confused!!! lol

  2. My little dog is a CHRONIC pee-er....and I mean C-H-R-O-N-I-C!!!!!! He's a 3-year old Chihuahua-Beagle mix and I'm SO SICK & TIRED of wiping his urine everywhere! I'm 41 years old and I've owned, raised, and trained dogs ALL my life ever since I had my first one at the age of 5 or 6. Never had any problems whatsoever, and they all took to me almost right away. I've always had a special way with dogs, and we seem to have a mutual respect & understanding. I could never explain it, but it's a bond like no other.

    Until.....Chippy came to me in December 2010. It's been almost 3 years now, and I'm as baffled as I was on day 1. None of the previous dogs I've had ever came this close to being so bad....and I'm at my wits' end! Chippy is fully potty trained, and he learned to go on his peepee papers in the corner. It was a relatively quick training, and it only took us about 2 months until he fully understood where to poop & pee.

    But I can't be with him 24/7 as I have things to do outside of home (as everybody else does). I find pee-stained cupboards, floors, furniture, corners, walls....it's INFURIATING and I'm about to totally lose my cool, and start crating him more.

    Weather permitting, I take him out for 20-minute walks twice a day. You wouldn't believe it if you saw it for yourself. He practically walks on 3 legs from start to finish 'cause his hind right leg's always raised marking something. How the hell can such a small dog have such a huge bladder, it baffles the mind. His last weigh-in was at 9lbs, and his last check-up turned out to be an excellent bill of health.

    I love my little boy more than anything else, and all we have is each other in the world. I have very few friends, and my nearest relative lives over 3 hours away, so I'm pretty much on my own. And since I have no car, I get to see them about 2 or 3 times a year (max).

    I'm veering off-course here a bit. Anyway, every time we go outside, he raises his leg to mark, then we take 5 steps forward, then he marks again, 5 more steps, mark, etc.... I'm not exaggerating when I said it's chronic. I've paid more in cleaning supplies in 1 year than what you probably make in salary at work.

    I can't afford professional training and his vet said he's perfectly healthy, and that it's just a territorial thing.

    This is almost bringing me to tears as we've become inseparable, and I find I'm yelling at him and losing my temper....I'm about to do something drastic like smacking his bottom real hard, putting his nose in a pee puddle, and crating him.....and he doesn't deserve any of it. I feel there's no hope left, and I'm going to have to grin & bear it for the rest of his life.