What Does It Mean If a Dog Pees on You?

When a dog pees on you – or worse, on one of your guests – everyone involved gets pretty grossed out and humiliated. And you can’t help but wonder about the reason for this behavior.

Does your dog do it on purpose? Should you be worried about it? Should you contact your vet for a checkup?

what does it mean if a dog pees on you
What does it mean if a dog pees on you?

What does it mean if a dog pees on you? 

Learning the potential reasons behind this behavior can help determine what actions you take to turn it around.

Why Do Dogs Pee on People?

Your dog might be peeing on you or your guests for many different reasons. Your dog may be displaying territorial behavior.

Other reasons can include sudden excitement, anxiety, hormones, or even a lack of bladder control. In some instances, your dog may be struggling with a medical condition.

Reasons Your Dog Pees on You

Let’s examine some of the reasons listed above and some other possibilities. You and your pup will feel much better after you’ve nailed down the problem.

Your Dog Is Marking Its Territory

If your male dog is still intact, there is a good chance he has reached sexual maturity, and he’s peeing on you to mark his territory. Male dogs can become mature as young as five months. At his point, he may begin marking his territory just about everywhere.

Your pup is simply trying to spread his scent to let other dogs know that this is his property. Some dogs can get a little over-ambitious and mark their owners as well, aiming to get their scent on you so other dogs will stay away.

Beagle and owner outdoors
A Beagle and his owner outdoor.

Your Dog Got a Little Too Excited

Sometimes, dogs get a little too excited. We can all recognize the signs of an overly excited pup. It whines, does a little happy dance, spins in circles, jumps, and maybe even barks.

Peeing is just one of the many ways a dog might express its excitement. 

For instance, if your dog pees on you when you return home from a long trip, it’s usually safe to say it’s excited that you’re finally home.

If your dog commonly pees on new guests, it’s likely a social pup who loves to meet new people.

Most dogs that get overly excited are not aware that they’re peeing. Suffice it to say it’s not worth a punishment because your dog won’t even realize that it did anything wrong, and yelling at it will only make it scared and sad.

dog excited
The Dalmatian was excited to see her owner!

Your Dog Is Asserting Dominance 

Marking territory is normal behavior for any dog, but doing it on you could be a sign that it does not see you as the leader of its pack. If your dog is exhibiting signs of dominance, it thinks that it rules the household.

The idea of dominance is natural to a dog. A dog’s ancestry stems back to wild pack behavior where one dog takes the lead, so it’s normal for it to recreate the pack situation in a household.

If your dog pees on you, it might just be because it thinks it can. It’s one of many ways that it’s showing you that it feels like it’s the pack leader and in control.

Boston Terrier walking on a leash
A Boston Terrier walking on a leash with his owner at the park.

Your Dog Is Being Submissive

Like dominance, submission comes in all shapes and sizes. A submissive dog might lick, lay down, or show its belly. But sometimes, a submissive dog will pee.

One of the most common signs of a submissive dog is to pee when greeting someone.

Submissive peeing is mainly a puppy problem. Your puppy will likely outgrow this behavior so it won’t be an issue forever. The bad news is that you’ll be cleaning up messes in the meantime. 

If you have an older dog that continues this behavior, talk to your vet. It could be a sign of a more serious condition.

German Shepherd nudge owner
German Shepherd nudges his owner to show affection.

Your Dog is Scared or Anxious

Anxiety or fear can cause a dog to pee on you. Stress can cause physical spasms in a dog’s little body, causing its bladder to contract. The result is some uncontrolled urination.

Anxiety is common in dogs. Stressful situations, such as a loud argument, thunder, or fireworks can cause bouts of anxiety. Other dogs are impacted by separation anxiety where they hate to be away from you.

Anxiety in dogs causes distinct symptoms, one of which is an adrenaline effect that can make them pee.

Fear, which is essentially an elevated and immediate form of anxiety, can also trigger an accident. Your pup might feel scared when it’s done something wrong or if you raise your voice at it. If your dog pees on you, it might be afraid of you.

Fear towards you may be due to how you punish your dog’s bad behavior or it could stem from a previous abusive owner.

Cocker Spaniel on grass
Cocker Spaniel lying on the grass and looking towards owner.

Your Dog Is Seeking Attention Out of Jealousy

Dogs will do all kinds of things to get your attention. Many dogs will bark or nudge you with their noses, especially if you’ve directed your attention to another dog or a person. Some dogs may even pee on you just to get you to focus on them

Pay close attention to what’s going on around you when your dog pees on you. If you recently got another pet, it may be reacting to your divided attention. If it only does it when you have company, it may feel jealous that someone else has grabbed your focus.

dogs clothes and collars
Two dogs wearing collars with tags and clothing.

Your Dog Has a Medical Condition

Several medical conditions in dogs can cause them to lose control of their bladder. The good news is that these conditions are not behavioral issues, so you don’t have to correct them or train your dog.

The bad news is that you need to consult your vet to determine the problem and look into treatment options.

A few medical conditions that can cause your dog to pee uncontrollably include:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Adrenal gland problems
  • Kidney issues
  • Diabetes

Issues like the ones above could make it difficult or even impossible for your dog to contain his urine, which can lead to him peeing on you. Look out for other signs and symptoms that accompany uncontrolled urination and call your vet as soon as possible to schedule an appointment.

Cockapoo and owner
Cockapoo is tired beside his owner’s feet.

You’re in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time

In some cases, you might just be standing in the wrong place at the wrong time. What exactly do we mean by this? Some experts say that dogs are most likely to urinate or mark upright objects.

And when you think about it, it checks out. Your male dog has probably peed on a few trees, plants, fire hydrants, fences, and telephone poles.

Your dog may have been following his instinct to pee on something upright and you were just the closest upright object. Oops!

fluffy cavapoo puppy with white chest looks at owner
Bicolor and Tricolour Cavapoo puppies have splashes of white and other shades. Cute!

How To Curb Peeing Problems?

The list above may have helped identify the problem behind your canine’s peeing, but it didn’t tell you what to do to make it stop. In some instances, you’ll need medical intervention. If you suspect a medical problem, always call your vet first.

You can help curb other issues with some behavioral training and adjustments.

Have Your Dog Fixed

If your pooch’s peeing is due to dominance, aggression, or marking, and he’s not neutered, it may help to get him fixed. Neutering your pet is a decision best made with the help of your vet, so be sure to contact them to see if your dog is eligible for neuter surgery at his age.

Yorkie being checked up
Yorkie having check up in a vet clinic.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement always works much better with dogs than corrective actions or punishments. Get your dog on a solid bathroom schedule and be sure to give it extra praise when it goes outside. A solid bathroom schedule is especially beneficial in young puppies.

woman trains Cavapoo
Woman trains Cavapoo near the water.

Stay Calm

If your dog pees out of fear or anxiety, losing your cool will only make things worse. Try to stay calm, cool, and collected around your dog – even when it’s misbehaving. The same goes for overly-excited dogs and dogs seeking attention.

Avoid getting too excited when you greet your dog. Stay calm and ignore it until it has settled down, then go say hi.

walk away
Owner walks away from her dog.

Final Thoughts

So, what does it mean if a dog pees on you? If a dog pees on you, there could be one of several reasons behind the behavior. The dog might be excited, anxious, or scared. It may also have a medical condition.

If it’s an intact male, he could be marking his territory.

When in doubt, always call your vet with any questions you may have. They will be able to rule out medical conditions and can give you some helpful tips for treating this behavior.