LifestyleWhy dogs lift their legs to urinate: Unraveling the ancient instincts behind this common behavior

Why dogs lift their legs to urinate: Unraveling the ancient instincts behind this common behavior

Why does the dog lift its paw when urinating?
Why does the dog lift its paw when urinating?
Images source: © Adobe Stock

6:44 AM EST, February 12, 2024

A walk for a dog doesn't just serve to address its biological needs; it's also an opportunity to mark territory. Dog enthusiasts may have observed male dogs urinating more during walks than female dogs do. But why do male dogs lift their legs so frequently?

Marking territory acts as a warning to other creatures

Since time immemorial, both wild dogs and wolves have utilized the scent of their urine to claim territory. When a new creature entered the domain of a pack, its presence would trigger immediate attention, allowing the pack to quickly drive away the intruding guest.

Territory marking also functioned to set boundaries and prevent conflicts among animals. Although humans have domesticated dogs over time and transformed them into loyal house pets, their instinctual behaviors remain intact.

Why do dogs lift their legs as high as possible when urinating?

Urinating as a means of communication and deterring other animals is understandable. However, it remains a mystery as to why a dog lifts its leg so high. TikTok user @alansadlik observed that dogs could pee directly on the ground and meet their requirements. However, the video continues to explain two reasons why dogs elevate their legs during urination.

In essence, dogs lift their legs higher to attempt to appear larger to their rivals. By raising the urine mark higher, they give other dogs the impression that a larger creature was there before them.

Contrarily, if a dog pees higher, the scent of the urine tends to linger longer than if it urinated directly on the ground. Urine that hits the turf immediately soaks into the soil, and the distinctive scent of the dog fades quickly. Thus, our furry pals often choose poles, fire hydrants, trees, or buildings for their business.

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