Yikes, why did my dog pee on me? If you stumbled onto this blog post, this either happened to you, someone you know, or you’ve heard about the topic. Don’t fret – there are a few reasons why this happens to the most loving, dedicated dog moms and dads.
A dog may pee on you due to territorial marking to behavioral issues and even fear, but there are other explanations. Understanding the motivation behind the urinating will help you understand why a dog may pee on you.
Although your first reaction might be to shout, yell, or scold the dog, this can make things worse. Patience and understanding are the two most important keys when dealing with this issue.
A lot of pet parents ask me about urinating and pooping behaviors, so this topic is worth addressing. Here’s what I’ve experienced, what the experts say, and help figuring out why your dog is urinating on you.
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Why Did My Dog Pee On Me?
Dogs communicate with humans and other animals differently than people do. If you walked up to a friend and urinated on them, this would be abhorrent and frowned upon.
However, in a dog’s world, peeing is a way to communicate. In her New York-based Dog Cognition Lab, Alexandra Horowitz spends a lot of time studying canine urine and its meaning.
“Dogs—like all other canids—leave urine conspicuously splashed on all manner of object,” Horowitz says. “Urine marking, as this method of communication is called, conveys a message.”
In her book, Inside of a Dog, Horowitz writes that 40 percent of a dog’s brain is devoted to analyzing and storing memories related to smell. A dog’s world is more than what they see; the nose is how they navigate their world.
When a dog marks, he’s leaving behind all kinds of personal information. This may not be appealing to you, the one getting peed on, but it’s your dog’s way of communicating something.
If your dog pees on you, it’s not disrespect. Your dog is having some sort of conversation through urination. Stay with me.
Common Reasons Dogs Pee On Their Owners
It’s not a cut and dry (pun intended) situation. Getting urinated on isn’t fun, but there are several reasons dogs do this to their owners. Here are the more common reasons:
- Attention Seeking Behavior
- Nervousness, fear, or anxiousness
- Submissive urination
- Marking their territory (marking you as their property)
- Hasn’t been spayed or neutered
- Medical problem
- Improper training
- Dietary Changes
Nervousness, Fear, or Anxiety
Dogs, like people, can experience nervousness, anxiety, and/or fear. Dogs with a history of abuse will need positive reinforcement and plenty of love and patience. New situations, such as a move, new baby or love interest, fireworks, thunderstorms, or any number of stressors can result in urination on you.
Attention Seeking Behavior
If your dog is getting less of your time or has to share you with someone or something new (as in the next tip), he may ‘urine mark’ you because he wants more attention. This isn’t dominance marking, but a more stressed type of urination.
Not Spayed or Neutered
It’s a common myth that only intact or unaltered dogs will mark a person. There are many non-hormonal reasons dogs pee on people. Dogs who fear certain people or situations may urinate and have no control over this.
Some dogs get really excited and pee on you when in a overexcited mood. They may pee on you and not even realize it (I’ve been through this with my first Cocker Spaniel.)
Submissive urination occurs when a dog is approached by a person, being greeted, gets scared, is overly excited to see someone, or even during play sessions. Though not a breed-specific problem, some Cocker Spaniel puppies (and adults) urinate when are happy, frantic, overjoyed, or scared.
Sometimes, an accident cannot be avoided. Maybe your dog is still house training, hasn’t been on a regular schedule, just returned from dog camp or daycare. Accidents happen, even on you.
Marking Their Territory
Dogs do not pee for spite or revenge. Spite and revenge are human emotions. Some new studies state dogs can be jealous, but it isn’t something that is permanent and can be gently corrected. Introducing a new job? Your dog may mark you.
Though not 100 percent the case all the time, dogs who are not spayed or neutered may pee on you. My third Cocker Spaniel was neutered after one year old. He was a bit of a marker but never in the house. He peed on everything and anything on walks, and one time he lifted his leg on me. This is a scent-marking behavior that changed after neutering. He still marks on walks, but not nearly as much as prior.
A dog with diabetes, a urinary tract infection, kidney or bladder stones, a spinal injury, a prostate problem, or any number of urinary incontinence issues may pee on you. If the dog is in the early or advanced stages of canine dementia, he may not understand what he is doing.
Puppies are full of energy, and with proper positive reinforcement they will learn where it is appropriate to pee. In the meantime, puppies are prone to accidents. Older dogs, like older people, may develop urinary incontinence.
Boredom is one of the main reasons dog pee inappropriately. They may soil the house, urinate on you, bark excessively, or chew on furniture or your belongings. Dogs are social animals and when they are alone for long periods of time, they miss the interaction with their pack.
How did potty training go? Is your puppy peeing in the house long after he is supposed to? Is your adult dog suddenly peeing in the house? Did you give up too soon on positive reinforcement house training?
Dogs who eat or drink more or less less than they normally do will have a change in potty habits. For example, low protein and high sodium diets can cause increased urination. A change in dog food may cause urinary issues, including increased urination.
What Not To Do If Your Dog Pees On You
Never Hit or Spank Your Dog
Putting your hand(s) on a dog as a form of punishment is wrong. It will harm your relationship with your dog and prevent proper training.
In her book, “It’s Me or the Dog” famed positive reinforcement trainer and star of her own dog behavior show on Animal Planet, Victoria Stilwell, writes, “When you hit a dog, you teach him to fear you, break his trust, and you weaken his confidence. Insecure dogs are the ones who are more likely to lash out in an aggressive display.”
Never Assume Your Dog Doesn’t Get Upset With You
Don’t scream or yell at your dog.
Dogs feel—they have emotions and they understand emotions. Recent scientific studies have shown that dogs experience love like humans and can read human emotions based on facial expressions. Dogs do have the capacity to love, feel, become depressed and get excited. Berating a dog or purposely upsetting him harms the dog in the long run.
Never Use a Crate As a Form of Punishment
Your dog’s crate or kennel should be a safe, comfortable space and not a place of punishment. If your dog associates the crate with negativity, he may become anxious, fearful, and other behavioral problems can develop.
Never Try a Natural Supplement Because It Sounds Good
Dogs who urinate on people will not be ‘cured’ by a magic pill, liquid, or treat. Seek veterinary guidance and work with a positive reinforcement behaviorist.
Never Wipe a Dog’s Nose or Face in Urine or Feces
This is disgusting, an old wives tail, can lead to medical problems, and is detrimental to your dog on every level possible. This is dog abuse.
Never Withhold Water
Dogs should have access to cool, clean water at all times.
“Yeah, but Carol, my dog pees on me, and drinking water contributes to it.” Dogs drink when they are thirsty, and water is a basic requirement of life.
FAST FACT: For a dog to pee on you, plan ahead to do so with intent, and then know you will get angry and start yelling or scolding them: Well, that takes a whole lot of calculated forward and vengeful thinking. Of all the emotions a dog has, getting even with you is not one of them.
How To Stop My Dog From Peeing On Me
- Stay calm and work on determining the reason(s) your dog is peeing on you from the list above. You may need to visit your veterinarian to rule out medical causes.
- Read my article on the myth of dog revenge peeing.
- Revisit appropriate elimination if this is the problem. You might have trained your house trained your pup in the short run, but if you don’t keep with it, your pooch may revert.
- Be sure your dog isn’t bored. If your dog is alone a lot, have a friend, family member, neighbor, or trusted pet sitter keep them company and take them for a walk, or doggy daycare.
- Consider the circumstances and keep a pee journal of when the accidents happen. You may start to see patterns emerge. Write down the time, what was going on, and if there are any changes in your dog’s life. I created the DogMinder Health and Wellness Journal to help you.
- Don’t make a big deal out of leaving or returning home if your dog pees on you during these times. If he is super excited, this may happen. You can also have the leash ready to go upon your return.
- Stop yelling at, scolding, or punishing your dog. You make the situation worse doing this and it can actually cause your dog to fear you.
- Curb submissive urination like a champ. Cockers tend to be submissive urinators.
- Learn to properly potty train your puppy.
- With medical issues and age-related causes ruled out, contact a professional positive reinforcement trainer.
- Talk to your veterinarian about spaying or neutering your dog and the timing of it. I waited a year to have my Alvin neutered and wish I did the same for my other Cocker Spaniels. I know better, so I do better.
- Watch for tell-tale signs and be prepared. Dogs who are ready to pee, even on you, may circle the area, sniff excessively in one area for a period of time, try to lift their leg or squat. Pick them up and take them outside to their designated area. Refer to our potty training a puppy and house training an adult dog articles.
- Talk to your dog in a friendly tone and with friendly body language.
- Consider urinary incontinence aids with your veterinarian’s guidance; i.e., doggy diapers, training pads, waterproof bedding, gated off areas.
- Take your dog out more often. This is one of my biggest pet peeves. Count how many times you take your dog out to urinate. Just because he can hold it doesn’t mean he should. Urine that sits for extended periods of time can lead to urinary tract infections.
- Eliminate the sources of fear or anxiety; i.e.: loud music, arguments in the home, fireworks, unruly kids, etc.
- Consider using a belly band indoors for male dogs or doggy diapers for females while you are home and revisit training. Don’t leave a wet belly band on, as this can cause a urinary tract infection.
BONUS TIP: Check your dog’s urine at home once or twice a month. I purchase urinary test strips for my dog online. The strips can detect if your pooch has a urinary tract infection when used properly. Not all test strips are created equal, so check reviews and be sure to throw them out when expired.
What If My Dog Pees On Other People or Animals?
This one takes a bit of sleuthing. Watch your dog when guests come over or when you visit someone.
Is your dog rolling onto his back or have his tail wagging and pee sort of just comes out? This is submissive urination, which I’ve written about.
If your dog sniffs a guest, lifts or squats, and dribbles some urine onto them, there can be a few reasons. First, your dog might be anxious in the situation. Dogs will urinate on someone or something with their own scent (urine) to make it seem more familiar.
Your dog may get aroused in some situations. Some dogs may even hump a guest’s leg and others have such an emotional overload that they mark with urine.
If your guest has a dog, your dog may want to instinctively cover that ‘scent’ with their own. It’s not spiteful or revenge – it’s how dogs communicate.
Of note, my second Cocker Spaniel, Dexter, had a habit of greeting a dog and turning around to squat near the dog. He promptly peed near, but not on the dog. Dogs being dogs.
How To Stop My Dog From Peeing On Other People or Animals
- Distract your dog from engaging with your guests. Allow your guests to give your dog a treat on arrival and continue to toss a few around in the first few minutes. Your dog will realize he doesn’t have to ‘mark’ the guest. This isn’t a one and done exercise. It takes time.
- Supervise your dog unless you are unable. At this point, your dog would do best in a separate area until you can provide him your attention.
- Have your dog greet guests outside before coming indoors. Have the guest reward with a treat.
- Take your dog out to potty before guests arrive.
- If your dog tends to pee on other dogs, this is a common behavior. Try clapping your hands when you see your dog ready to do this. Remember to praise your dog when he pees in an appropriate praise. I tell my Cocker Spaniel ‘good dog’ whether he is three months old or 14 years old.
- Revisit all the causes and solutions above. If all else fails, seek help from a positive reinforcement trainer.
Our Favorite Products To Get Urine Out of Clothes and Carpeting
Rocco and Roxie Stain and Odor Eliminator: My favorite indoor urine product. It helps to get the stink and stain out without nasty chemicals.
Nature’s Miracle Set-In Stain Destroyer: I have had success with this product for those hard-to-get-out stains and severe, stubborn pet and urine stains.
Skout’s Honor Laundry Booster and Odor Removal Additive: If your dog pees on bedding or furniture covers, throw rugs, or towels, this is a great laundry booster to get the stink and stain out. (bonus: it’s unscented and bleach-free)
Hoover Oxy Pet Urine and Stain Eliminator Carpet Cleaner: The enzymatic formula breaks down organic particles to get the mess out.
Tide Stain Remover For Clothes: I’ve been using these portable Tide sticks to go, on trips, and when visiting dog-loving friends. The pen-like design makes them easy to use for spot treatment.