When Your Male Dog Urinates Like a Girl

Sometimes it’s a sign that something’s wrong medically.


You know how it works. Male dogs lift a leg to urinate; females squat. But sometimes a male dog squats to void urine as well. What’s that about?

It can be a number of things.

1. Age. Young male puppies start out squatting, just like their female counterparts, because leg-lifting is learned as a dog matures. It is not uncommon for male dogs to squat to urinate even after their first birthday (although many males start to lift a leg by the time they are about 5 months old). One of the reasons they enjoy learning to lift a leg is that male dogs, much more than females, are into urine-marking on vertical surfaces. The leg lift allows the urine to reach higher as well as hit its mark with precision. And the urine itself (on a fire hydrant or lamppost) leaves a message that the dog was there and can also give some other information, including about his size. The higher up the mark, the larger the dog. (A neutered dog that has been lifting his leg to relieve himself will most likely not start squatting.)

2. Lack of exposure to other male dogs. Although it is natural for male dogs to lift a leg to urinate, they generally need to see it done to start doing it themselves. If a dog is the only male in a litter and doesn’t get to meet other male dogs, he may not pick up the leg-lifting behavior.

3. Submissive urination. A male dog who is nervous may urinate while squatting rather than with the confidence of leg lifting. He could be trying to show that he doesn’t mean any trouble. If it happens in the house, do not show anger. He is scared, not disobedient. Let an anxious, submissive dog know that he’s great and that you approve of him.

4. Preference. Some male dogs simply prefer to urinate as they squat, just as some men prefer to sit on the toilet to urinate. It’s not typical, but it happens.

5. Pain. If your dog has been urinating by lifting a leg but is now squatting to void, something may be wrong medically. He might have hurt a limb or his back and finds it hard to balance himself on three legs, even if only for a few moments. Or there could be something else going on, such as an issue in the urinary tract. A change in a very entrenched habit like posturing during urinating should trigger a trip to the vet.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here