How Do Dogs Pick a Place to Urinate?

by Melodie Anne Coffman Google
    That area around the hydrant most likely smells like a potty to him.

    That area around the hydrant most likely smells like a potty to him.

    Thinkstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

    Just like you have the same room in your home where you go to the bathroom, Sparky also can have his own designated spot -- ideally outside. He urinates in that area because he’s been there before or to leave his scent behind. Of course it’s also possible that he just couldn’t hold it any longer and simply picked the closest safe spot he could find.

    Been There Before

    During potty training, whether you’re working with a young puppy or an adult dog, it can be helpful always to bring your hound back to the same zone. Whether it’s the far corner of the yard or his own special patch of grass, when he pees there, he leaves his scent behind. The next time he wanders over there, it’s already familiar to him, almost like that’s his own personal toilet.

    It’s Unfamiliar

    Just as much as your dog may prefer his regular “bathroom,” he also could be intrigued by unfamiliar territory and want to go there instead. Newly planted grass, rocks surrounding the flower bed or fresh dirt, all are new areas that don’t have any animal smell yet. He might designate one of these clean spots as his new potty by urinating on it.

    Alerting Other Dogs

    Watch your mischievous chum the next time you go for a walk. He probably sniffs everything in sight, but sometimes he picks up on strong odors, which may make him tug on his leash, pulling you over there so he can get a better whiff. These regions, like the potty area of the dog park or your neighborhood fire hydrant, have been marked numerously by other dogs. Naturally, Sparky wants it to be his own locale now, alerting all other dogs that he was there last. That spot then makes the perfect area for him to relieve himself.

    Must Go Now

    Once in a while, your canine’s bladder fills up so much, like after he has been in his crate all day, that he just has to go. You’ll know this is the case if you snap on his leash, take him out and he squats or lifts his leg just seconds after getting outside. He chose that spot right by the door only because he couldn’t wait any longer.

    Indoor Urination

    If your pup urinates inside, it could stem from several things. Maybe the spot was marked before, either by him or another dog. It looks clean, but he can pick up on the smell. Now it just seems like a potty to him, making him want to go back there to pee. He also might pick a new random spot inside if something in his life changed, such as if you moved the furniture around or started working nights. These small changes can stress him, making him relieve himself indoors. You’ll have to get an enzymatic cleaner from the pet shop, which is designed to break up stuck-on pet smells. Once that area stops smelling like a toilet, he shouldn’t have much of a desire to go there and you can show him where you want him to urinate -- outside.

    Photo Credits

    • Thinkstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Melodie Anne Coffman has been writing for various online and print publications since 1996, specializing in human and animal nutrition. After receiving her master's degree in food science and human nutrition, she opened up her own nutrition consulting business in the New England area.

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