Behavioral problems

My Dog Peed on Me - Why and What to Do

Marta SarasĂșa
By Marta SarasĂșa, Psychologist. August 29, 2022
My Dog Peed on Me - Why and What to Do

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When we adopt a dog into the family, especially if they are a puppy, we need to expect a certain level of pee. Before they are toilet trained, young dogs will urinate around the home indiscriminately. Sometimes that means while we are playing with them on our lap, on our couch or simply when we are standing and minding our own business. Once the the dog has been toilet trained, a healthy dog should be able to control their bladder around us. For this reason, if your dog starts peeing on you all of a sudden, it likely indicates a problem.

At AnimalWised, we understand why my dog peed on me. We find out the causes of this inappropriate urination and what we can do to prevent it happening again in the future.

You may also be interested in: My Cat Peed on Me - Why and What to Do
  1. Why did my dog pee on me?
  2. My dog pees on me when he sees me
  3. What to do after a dog peed on you

Why did my dog pee on me?

It is important to note the difference between a dog peeing on yourself and peeing on a stranger. It is common for dogs during walks to go up to different areas, sniff around and urinate to mark their territory. Sometimes, this includes the leg of an innocent bystander. This marking behavior is normal and not usually something which indicates a specific problem.

Marking with urine is a form of scent marking. Pheromones are contained in the dog's urine, feces and other secretions. When they see someone they don't know, they may feel insecure. Marking them helps them to feel control of their environment and reduces feelings of anxiety. Urine marking on people doesn't always happen outside the home. If a stranger comes to visit the home, they may pee on them to show them who rules the roost. This is especially the case if the other person has the scent of another dog on them.

Fortunately, marking of this type is relatively rare. As it is a normal and healthy behavior in dogs, it should not be punished with negative reinforcement. This will likely only make things worse. Instead, the behavior needs to be redirected and the dog's socialization needs to be improved. We can make them more comfortable with strangers by introducing them to different types of people and reward them when they do well.

We can now contrast this issue with a dog peeing on us, their extended human family. When the dog starts peeing inappropriately after they have been toilet trained, it usually happens because something in their lives has changed. We can also distinguish between scent marking when the dog only eliminates a few drops of pee and losing control of their bladder which has more volume of urine.

When a dog has peed on you, we need to look at the context of the action to help understand why it happened and what to do about it. This requires looking at correlated behaviors, changes that may have happened in the home and what we might be doing to inform the behavior.

Learn more with our article on why my dog is pooping in the house all of a sudden.

My dog pees on me when he sees me

When a dog pees on their owner, it is rare they will do it to mark territory. Urinating on us before they are toilet trained is common and something we need to tolerate until their behavior can be modified. When the dog pees on you all of a sudden, it is likely due to one of the following factors:

  • Hyper-excitement and joy: when a dog experiences very positive emotions and gets too excited, it is common for them to urinate on themselves. This usually happens when the dog is reunited with their guardian or anther person they love after some time. We will know it is from joy when there is no tension in their body and they can't control their excitement. While this is normal in rare circumstances, it should not happen regularly. When a dog is over-excited to see us after we come home from work, it implies they are anxious when we are not around. We can learn more about this with our article on separation anxiety in dogs.

  • Fear: when a dog pees on you and their body is tense, their tail is between their legs or they are showing other signs of being scared, they may be afraid. There are many reasons a dog is afraid, but there are major factors to consider. For example, if an abused dog enters the home, it is common for them to pee on you out of fear because of their previous experience. This is in contrast to a dog which is scared all of a sudden after being relatively happy. Changes in routine, changes in our behavior, new family members or even physical ailments can cause a dog to suddenly be scared and pee on you out of fear.
  • Poor education and training: although we may think we have done a good job toilet training our dog, it may not be the case. We may have been able to teach them to pee in the short run, but if we do not do follow-up training, they can lapse. The poor education we provide may not have anything directly to do with urination. If we do not provide the right kind and amount of training for our individual dog's needs, they can develop various behavioral problems, including peeing on you.

  • Incontinence: there is a possibility that your dog occasionally urinates on people because he is suffering from an incontinence problem. Incontinence can be a consequence of old age, so it is something to consider if we have a senior dog. If they are younger and even if they appear otherwise healthy, incontinence can be a sign of a physical health problem, disease or even neurological disorder. For this reason, the first thing you should do is take the dog to a veterinarian for a general health assessment.

We can look at the quality of the dog's pee. For example, if the dog pees a little blood, this is a clear sign a physical health problem is manifesting itself.

My Dog Peed on Me - Why and What to Do - My dog pees on me when he sees me

What to do after a dog peed on you

If your dog has begun to urinate on you all of a sudden, it is vital we analyze the context of the animal's behavior. We need to look at both their physical and emotional states to help determine the cause of the nuisance urination. This is often much easier said than done, especially as there may be several factors influencing the behavior. For this reason, we reiterate how important is taking the dog to a veterinarian. They can run diagnostic tests, assess their medical history and help to determine the underlying cause.

If the dog's behavior is mainly related to marking behavior, you should be aware of the importance of neutering a dog. Neutering has many benefits for the dog's physical and emotional well-being. Not only does it reduce the likelihood of common reproductive diseases, but it will prevent female dogs going into heat and male dogs chasing after females in heat. Inappropriate urination is often eliminated thanks to the hormonal balance it provides.

Correct socialization of puppies should be carried out, with the ages of 3-12 months being particularly important. If an adult dog's socialization period has been neglected, it can lead to behavioral problems. While it is difficult and not applicable to all dogs, many adult dogs can be socialized even at a more advanced age. Take a look at our guide to socializing an adult dog to learn more.

With fears and phobias, it can be very difficult to manage. This is especially the case when we don't know much about the history of the dog. While we can assess their situation on our own, it is often necessary to bring in the help of a canine ethologist or dog trainer. Their experience and knowledge means they are better able to asses an individual dog and provide for their specific needs.

Since context is so important, you may want to look at our articles on why dogs pee next to food and why dogs pee when we pet them to see if they are relevant to your situation.

If you want to read similar articles to My Dog Peed on Me - Why and What to Do, we recommend you visit our Behavioral problems category.

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My Dog Peed on Me - Why and What to Do