You might have thought a female dog lifting her leg to urinate was strange, but have you ever seen a dog do a handstand while peeing?
While this might sound like something from a bad dream, there are dogs who answer the call of nature in this unusual position. If your dog pees while standing on his front legs, don’t despair — he has his reasons.
Previously, we looked at strange behavior in “Can Dogs Watch TV?” “Why Do Dogs Hump?” and “Why Do Dogs Roll on Their Backs?”, but this time around we’re getting to the bottom of why your dog pees on his front legs.
Why Does My Dog Pee?
Well, mainly to empty his bladder — but peeing also has a social function.
Humans like to leave a mark. Some create great art and literature to leave behind for future generations, while others simply upload their thoughts and photos to social media.
Dogs really aren’t that different from dog owners. Every trickle of urine “uploads” a range of information including the dog’s age, gender, social status, reproductive status and health. A dog’s sense of smell is impressive which means they can “read” all of this information just by sniffing. Yes, that’s exactly why he stops so often when you take him for a walk.
What Positions Do Dogs Pee In?
According to a 1970s study, there are 12 positions that dogs assume when they need to take a leak. Adult males tend to lift a back leg, females like to squat and puppies lean forward slightly. Remember, every dog is different, so don’t worry if your pooch doesn’t follow peeing conventions.
Other positions that dogs take include the squat raise, arch raise, and last but not least, the handstand.
Why Does My Dog Do a Handstand While Peeing?
When your dog takes a whizz and “uploads” his information to the nearest lamppost, he’s not just showing off his latest selfie, he’s marking his territory.
Size matters for dogs. That means that as well as peeing more frequently than larger dogs, smaller dogs lift their legs higher — in some cases into a handstand — to fool other dogs into thinking they’re bigger. It’s similar to humans wearing high heels or lifts in their shoes, and may even serve the purpose of helping them avoid conflict with larger, more powerful dogs.
By urinating with his back legs in the air, your dog is able to not just mimic a larger dog, but also to “overmark” him. “Overmarking” is peeing over another dog’s urine in an effort to cover up his scent. For petite pooches, sometimes the only way to cover a larger creature’s scent is to throw caution to the wind and hips to the air.
Peeing while in a handstand position isn’t limited to male dogs. Studies on female Jack Russells found they used a number of urination positions, including the handstand. Other species aren’t immune to this strange behavior — even pandas have been observed taking a leak with their back legs in the air.
Even if your dog’s acrobatics result in urine hitting his front legs, you should never make him stop peeing mid-flow. Instead, celebrate him for the unique creature he is and treat him to food that was specially crafted with small dogs in mind.
Canidae® PURE Petite provides pure goodness for pint-sized pooches. Try PURE Petite: Grain Free Chicken for Small Breed Dogs for a delicious freeze-dried raw-coated kibble that comes in a smaller size for easier digestion. With real chicken as the first ingredient and HealthPlus Solutions packed into every bite, he’ll go head over heels for this recipe.
Discuss transitioning to Canidae with your vet today!