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Home > Dogs > Why Does My Girl Dog Pee Like a Boy? 4 Vet-Reviewed Reasons & Suggestions

Why Does My Girl Dog Pee Like a Boy? 4 Vet-Reviewed Reasons & Suggestions

Dog Pee on Grass

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Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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You may have been told to get a female dog because they don’t mark, but now your beautiful princess is lifting her leg on every tree, bush, and fence post, just like boy dogs do. It’s true that most girl dogs don’t mark their territory, but some do. If your female dog is peeing like a boy, rest assured that there’s nothing with her. There are a few reasons that this happens.

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The 4 Reasons Why Female Dogs Lift Their Legs to Pee

1. Urine Marking

dog peeing on door
Image By: Teeradej, Shutterstock

There are different behavioral reasons that female dogs lift their legs to pee. All “leg lifting” behavior is designed to mark territory. There are different reasons to mark territory, but regardless of sex, dogs lift their legs as high as possible to pee on a vertical object. The urine runs down the object, and a large surface area is subsequently covered with the smell of their urine.

2. The Illusion of Size

Interestingly, the size of your dog may have an impact on whether they mark. Small female dogs tend to lift their legs to pee more than medium-sized and large female dogs. By lifting her leg, your dog may be trying to make herself appear bigger to other dogs.

3. Avoidance of Butt-Sniffing

Dog sniffing dog in heat
Image By: atiger, Shutterstock

An interesting reason that female dogs may lift their leg to pee is the avoidance of butt-sniffers. When dogs greet each other, they smell each other’s anal glands. This is normal dog behavior, but some dogs don’t enjoy being sniffed. When they step away and urinate, other dogs will sniff the urine instead.

Dogs that are less than confident or experience fear reactions from other dogs can feel awkward during dog-to-dog interactions. Marking provides other dogs with an opportunity to sniff without the overwhelming feeling that comes with butt-sniffing.

4. Being in Heat

Marking behavior in females is particularly prominent in unspayed females. If your dog is intact, her hormonal drives when she is in heat tell her that she is supposed to mate, and marking leaves behind her scent to tell male dogs that she’s in season. In this case, spaying your dog often fixes the marking problem.


How to Get Your Female to Stop Marking

Dog Pee on the tree
Image By: pcdazero, Pixabay

It is both normal and healthy for female dogs to mark their territory by lifting their legs, but it can make walks tedious when you have to stop every few minutes. Give your dog an opportunity to mark at the beginning and end of your walks, as well as any time that she is safely off-leash (like in the backyard), allowing her to act on her instincts.

Feel free to walk her right past her target if your dog is marking to excess. Using a command like “No,” and then putting very light pressure on the leash will indicate to her that it’s time to go. Praise your dog for returning to the walk, and try to keep your walks interesting, so she’s engaged with you rather than wanting to stop to mark.

Keep Your Dog Clean

Due to their anatomical makeup, females that lift their legs to pee are likely to dribble urine on themselves while doing so. This can lead to them becoming smelly after all that pee settles into their fur.

If you have a female dog that marks, it’s important to clean any urine off them, so they don’t suffer from skin irritation or future health problems. The good news is that you don’t have to bathe your dog any more frequently. You simply need to wipe her with a warm washcloth to remove any urine dribbles. There are also pet wipes available that you can carry on the go.



There are several reasons that female dogs lift their legs to pee like male dogs. It’s important to know that this is perfectly normal behavior. While you may have to spend extra time cleaning your dog, there isn’t much that you can do to stop the behavior. If you have concerns about your dog’s urination habit, speak to your vet about it. They will be able to discuss it with you and determine whether it needs to be addressed.

Featured Image Credit: Ching Louis Liu, Shutterstock

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