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Help! My Male Dog Pees Like a Female

Tan dog with it's head turned away from the camera, squatting as if to go pee.

Dog Discoveries explain that peeing in canines is a sexually dimorphic behavior. This means that male and female members of this species can exhibit different behaviors for the same bodily function. This characteristic is also observed in birds as male birds sing complex songs while females produce simpler ones. These variations in behavior are often linked with the secretion of different hormones in males and females.

What to Do if My Male Dog is Suddenly Peeing Like a Female?

It is normal for young male dogs to pee like a female because the leg-lifting behavior is learned as they mature. However, if your pup generally pees by lifting his leg and has suddenly started squatting, there could be an underlying medical problem. In these situations, it’s very important to figure out the reason for this sudden change in behavior.

You should examine your pooch by touching his body parts and look for signs of pain. If you are unable to spot anything, take him to the vet for a detailed evaluation. The veterinarian will perform a thorough checkup of your pup to see what’s wrong with him. Negligence in taking your dog to the vet can be really dangerous because some hidden issues can cause massive trouble.

Why Do Male Dogs Lift Their Legs for Peeing?

Jack Russell Terrier with leg hiked against a teal colored wall, peeing.

Dogs don’t use urination just to relieve themselves. Instead, they also serve the purpose of scent-marking through this natural procedure. Cuteness clarifies that some females also indulge in the marking behavior, but it is much more common in male canines. The following are some common reasons that can urge your pup to lift his leg while urinating.

Urine Marking – This is probably the biggest cause of the marking behavior of your pooch. Most dogs prefer to mark on vertical objects, like lampposts and bushes, in the house. This allows other dogs (and animals) to sniff and understand that they are in the wrong territory.  

Means of Communication – The marking of a dog contains useful messages about his age, size, and sex. For this reason, the term “pee-mail” is often used to describe this habit of canines.

Copying Other Male Dogs – According to some people, dogs lift their legs while peeing because they see other male pups eliminating in this fashion. This is one of the reasons why male puppies squat down for urination and start leg-lifting as they grow old.

Influence of Testosterone – The secretion of the male reproductive hormone (testosterone) also promotes the marking behavior. Several studies show that neutered dogs are less likely to mark their territory (with urine). Similarly, neutering your pooch also decreases the squatting behavior in male dogs. Therefore, such canines are much more likely to develop leg-lifting habits.

When Do Male Puppies Start Lifting Their Legs?

7 German Shepherd puppies sitting and laying side by side in a field of grass

Irrespective of their gender, young puppies relieve themselves by squatting. However, male dogs start to pee by lifting their legs as they grow old. According to research by Dr. Peter Borchelt, 50% of dogs start urine marking by the age of 8 months. Similarly, almost 95% of male puppies start lifting their legs (for peeing) by the age of 2 years.

This information clarifies that your furry friend may not lift his leg until the age of 5 months. Similarly, you shouldn’t be worried if he isn’t showing marking behavior by the age of 8 months. It’s normal for some pups to take more time to develop this method.

Does Neutering Lead to Squatting in Male Dogs?

Dachshund laying on its back on an surgical table being neutered.

Although neutering and squatting are often linked with each other, it’s not true. VCA Hospitals also mention that neutering your pooch won’t affect his personality, temperament, and training.

Most male dogs will learn to pee by lifting their legs as they grow out of puppyhood. If your pooch doesn’t follow this trend, it has nothing to do with him being neutered. Instead, lack of exposure (to other male dogs) and personal preference are a couple of possible reasons for his behavior.

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