There are several reasons why your dog may pee on you. Dogs use urinating in a surprising variety of ways. It can occur due to excitement, a need to mark their territory, our anxiety. Sickness, fear, and not being spayed or neutered can also be the cause.
Your dog can even pee on you as a way to show their submission to you as the leader of the pack. Luckily, your dog may not be able to speak, but it will give you clues as to why it is peeing on you.
Why does my dog pee on me?
We’ll break down the common reasons dogs pee on their owners. Before we begin though, you should understand how house soiling and marking differ.
House Soiling vs Marking
Puppies that aren’t house trained will house soil. They will pee and poop wherever and whenever they get the urge, and it’s often in your home. Even in an adult dog, house soiling occurs for the primary purpose of emptying the bladder.
If your dog is peeing on you, and not urinating in the home otherwise, it’s unlikely they are house soiling. A dog will completely empty their bladder when house soiling. If your dog is house trained and house soiling, you should visit the vet to rule out a medical issue as quickly as possible.
If your dog has a tendency to dribble here and there, this is most likely marking. You may notice a few drops on your hand or a small wet spot on the carpet. They will not completely empty their bladder when marking, although the volume can vary based on your pet and the situation.
Humans monogram purses and towels. We erect fences and install locking doors. In short, we mark our territory. We feel the need to define our area and our belongings. Dogs are not that much different. A dog will pee as a way of marking its territory.
So, your dog peeing on you may simply be its way of claiming you. Sure it doesn’t make the experience more sanitary, but there’s some irony in the owner being owned.
Male dogs will usually raise one of their back legs when peeing for this reason. It will usually be a small volume of liquid. Female dogs generally squat to mark, but they may raise one leg slightly as well.
Stress marking occurs in unfamiliar situations or when exposed to unfamiliar scents. It can be as simple as you visiting a new store with new smells or bringing home a new gym bag.
If you have come into close contact with an unfamiliar person or another animal, your dog may pee on you to erase the unfamiliar scent.
Anxiety, territorial marking, and stress marking are closely linked. The more anxiety your dog feels in general, the more likely they are to mark out of stress or territory marking.
Again, there’s a correlation to human behavior. Have you ever been homesick and smelled an item that smelled of home? Do you have a particular scent that you prefer when you are upset? Do certain smells take you back to your childhood? Smells can act as a security blanket, and urine is a dogs lavender room spray.
Submissive marking is the dog’s way of saying you’re the boss. It often occurs when the dog rolls over in a submissive gesture. They can lay down or flatten their ears. They may lower their head. This is often seen in puppies. It can occur in older dogs, depending on the dog’s temperament.
Humans can feel so much happiness we cry. Dogs can get so excited they pee. If peeing occurs when your dog is excited, this is likely the culprit. You may find a specific trigger, like grabbing their leash to take them for a walk or arriving home.
For other dogs, anything that excites them will cause them to pee. This is an involuntary reaction. It is more common in puppies and younger dogs, but it can occur at any age.
This type of peeing is involuntary. You won’t see them raise their leg or perform any other action to prepare to pee. It just happens, usually in small amounts.
Fear marking is different than stress marking or submissive marking. This is an inability to control the bladder due to extreme fear. In fact, many animals, including humans, have this response.
If you suspect fear marking is the issue, you’ll need to spend some time determining why your pet is so fearful.
When fear marking, your dog will show clear signs of fear. They may cower, lower their tail, or lower their head. They may whimper as well. This isn’t an intentional gesture to show submission like submissive marking.
The most concerning reason your dog could be peeing on you is a medical issue. Urinary infections, age-related incontinence, and arthritis are a few causes. We’ll take a closer look in the section that covers your dog suddenly starting to pee on you.
How to stop my dog from peeing on me?
How you stop your dog from peeing on you will vary based on the cause. If it’s a physical issue, you’ll need to work with your vet to solve the problem. However, the problem is usually behavioral. In that case, you’ll need to properly address the situation and underlying cause.
What Not to Do
Old-fashioned advice like yelling at your dog or rubbing their nose in pee is not effective. In fact, it can actually make the problem worse.
Your dog is not peeing on you to be intentionally defiant or rude. Dogs use urination as a form of communication. To you, the behavior is inappropriate. To the dog, it’s perfectly natural and a valid means of expression.
If the cause is submissive marking, fear, or stress marking, scolding or rubbing their nose in it is the worst thing you can do. It will increase stress and anxiety, which will likely lead to more peeing.
What To Do
The first step should be ruling out a medical cause. If your dog only pees on you or in a specific situation, it’s likely behavioral. If you notice other unusual changes or pee habits, it’s best to have a vet rule out medical problems.
If the cause is behavioral, there are a few things you’ll want to do regardless of the reason. First, make a note of when it occurs. This will help you narrow down why your dog is peeing on you. You may discover its excitement when you get home, or an unfamiliar scent your dog is smelling. If you know the cause, you can take steps to prevent the behavior.
Next, use “no” or any word you choose when your dog begins to pee inappropriately. Be sure to use the same word or phrase each time your dog does an unwanted behavior. Do not yell or scold, just say the word firmly. In many types of behavioral training, the next step is to redirect your dog to a desired behavior. In this case, the desired behavior is not peeing on you. You can have your dog sit as a desired behavior. It’s not a punishment. Instead, it gives the dog something to do instead of peeing on you.
Stopping Territorial and Stress Marking
Since dogs that aren’t spayed or neutered mark more frequently, getting your dog fixed is often recommended as the first solution for territorial marking. If there’s a new person in the house, allowing the person to bond with the dog may reduce marking. If there’s a new pet, introduce them slowly.
Stopping Excitement Marking
Excitement marking usually occurs when you are greeting or playing with your dog. To stop it, you’ll simply need to calm the excitement a bit. When greeting your dog, keep your voice calm. Pet them gently. When playing, take a break when you notice that they are getting overly excited.
Stopping Submissive Marking
Submissive marking occurs because the dog is showing subservience to you. Give them an outlet by teaching them a command like sit or stay. Don’t scold them. Keep your voice calm but authoritative. Avoid dominant signals like looking your dog in the eye.
Pat under their chin instead of the top of their head. Approach them from the side instead of head-on. Bend at the knees to reach their level instead of bending at the waist, which gives the appearance of you towering over them.
Stopping Fear Marking
How to stop fear marking depends on the situation. If your dog has a fear of a certain sight, smell, or sound, you may be able to eliminate or minimize it temporarily. If your dog is constantly in a state of fear or is startled into it very easily, they may need short-term anti-anxiety medications.
Why is my dog suddenly peeing on me?
There are a few reasons why your dog may suddenly start peeing on you. To narrow down the cause, consider any recent changes in your dog’s environment, routine, or physical changes. Since it can be caused by medical issues, it’s wise to make a visit to the vet if you notice sudden changes in your dog’s pee habits.
Changes in Household or Routine
If you’ve recently had a baby or gotten another pet, your dog may be territorial or stress marking. If you’ve recently begun a new routine, your dog may miss you during the day and get very excited when you come home. A new job or hobby can also bring new smells that could cause stress marking.
Marking behaviors usually begin at 1 year of age if your dog isn’t spayed or neutered. Spaying or neutering your dog might not eliminate marking, but it can reduce it. Submissive or excitement marking are most common in dogs under 1 year of age.
Senior dogs can pee on you as well. Senior dogs are usually more set in their ways, and they might be more likely to pee on you as a response to a change in their routine or environment.
They can also develop medical conditions that cause them to urinate. Arthritis is a common problem in senior dogs. While not directly related to urinary function, it can cause discomfort and anxiety, which can cause stress marking.
Older dogs can also experience age-related incontinence. If this is the cause, you’ll notice house soiling. Your dog will pee in the house, and potentially on you as well.
Your dog could also be peeing on you suddenly due to a medical issue. The most common medical issue is a simple urinary tract infection. This can make it difficult to control urination, causing your dog to pee at inappropriate times. If your dog has an infection, you may notice difficulty urinating, smelly urine, or cloudy urine.
Bladder and kidney stones can also cause difficulty peeing or controlling the bladder. Cystitis, or inflammation of the bladder, can also cause incontinence. Diabetes and tumors can also cause urinary problems.
Why does my dog pee on me when I get home?
The most common reason for your dog to pee on you when you get home is excitement marking. They’ve missed you and are simply happy you are home. Try to avoid any exciting play in those first moments. Greet them happily but calmly. Eventually, the dog will learn to control their excitement.
Territorial marking is also a possibility. Have you been around other animals? Is your dog feeling out of sorts or unsure of its place in the household? It could even be related to separation anxiety. If your dog feels lonely or stressed when you are gone, it may feel the need to “claim” you when you return.
Stress marking is also a possibility. Dogs noses are much more sensitive than ours, so you could have scents that your dog doesn’t recognize and wants to eliminate.