Here’s The Reason Your Dog Pees On Things Even When They Don’t Need To Go

Written by: Stephanie Valente

August 18, 2015

My dog and I have so much in common. The first thing I do every morning is check my email, and so does my dog! Okay. Not her email, but her pee-mail.

pug pee on tree

You might’ve noticed the intense sniff or the length your pup goes to in order to pee in that super specific spot. What’s the deal with that?

While your pup’s habits might seem funny or eccentric, it’s actually a ritual. Science tells us that reading “pee-mail” means two things: 1) relaying messages and 2) marking territory.

dog sniff hydrant

Dogs have more receptors than we do, so it’s natural that they would pick up so much information based on scent, especially when it comes to another dog’s urine. They’re big on nonverbal communication — perhaps your pup even has some signals he or she uses with you.


The most important fact of communication is all the information your pup receives. By checking previous pees, dogs can learn gender, spayed/neutered status, and even the stress and health levels of other pups. All of this information can also be a message or lead into social status.

dog sniff nature

Which brings me to my other point. Some pups are checking for social status or just maintaining their turf.

Some dogs will go to pawmazing lengths to mark their turf. No, this doesn’t make your pup a newly minted member of The Warriors, but it might mean that he wants to stake out his claim in your neighborhood. Male dogs tend to “overmark” (aka pee right on top of old pee) and females tend to pee next to old ‘mails, whether it’s male or female. Studies even show that female pups are interested in both male and female pee mail, while male dogs are primarily interested in what other male dogs lifted on.

dog with leg up

And what we know about these sniffs and markings is that our dogs are communicating and making claims to ownership. But above all, we don’t know all of the reasons why or how dogs are communicating with their pee-mails. Some theories for pee smell and ownership can point to pups relaying messages or warning them to stay off their area. And remember, since dog have so many receptors, it’s like they’re receiving multiple, informative messages. Essentially, it’s important for your pup to sniff and to have their mails read, so let them sniff and explore!

sniffing dog outside

What I want to know, is what our dogs are gossiping about. 😜

Featured image via Telovation

Written by: Stephanie Valente

August 18, 2015

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A themed collection of BARK-designed toys, treats, and chews.


A themed collection of BARK-designed toys, treats, and chews.