Why Do Dogs Like To Pee On Fire Hydrants? 6 Reasons + How To Stop It - HighPeakPets.com (2023)

Dogs can add so much joy to our lives. I’m fortunate enough to know firsthand how great dogs can be; sometimes just their presence is enough to lift your spirits when you’re feeling down. I’ve been lucky to have dogs in my life since I was a little kid.

Nowadays, I have two dogs, Duke and Bella. Bella is happiest outside, whether that’s hiking or laying in the yard. My dog Duke, on the other hand, wants to be with me as much as possible. He absolutely loves coming with me to the office. He’s a charmer who makes the atmosphere at work cheery and lighter which brightens everyone’s day!

We need to make sure we return the favor…being good owners means that we should give our dogs the same courtesy and understanding that they give us. We should take care not to hold their mistakes against them but instead look for underlying issues and potential solutions.

Then we can take action (when appropriate) to encourage or change our dog’s behaviors as necessary.

So what about dogs that follow that cartoonish stereotype of urinating on fire hydrants? Why do dogs like to pee on fire hydrants? The quick and easy answer is that dogs probably pee on fire hydrants to mark their territory, because vertical things are good to pee on, they’re overmarking other dogs, it happens to be a convenient place to go, they learned it from other dogs or stress.


Common Reasons Your Dog Pees On Fire Hydrants

You have to admit, it’s a funny behavior that probably happened as soon as the first fire hydrant was invented.

I just went through a brief rundown of the top reasons why dogs pee on fire hydrants but if you need more details to help you determine while your dog is doing so, I’ll delve more deeply into the why, and how to stop it.

Fire Hydrants Are Vertical

For your dog, the vertical height of a fire hydrant may act as a fence or edge of a boundary to be marked (see below). And, the scent of his ‘marking’ may last longer and be more noticeable if he chooses to go on a hydrant!

Also, don’t forget – choosing to mark higher up might also be seen as an opportunity for our pooches to assert their dominance over other dogs!

Marking His Territory

Of course, one of the main reasons for a dog to go on a fire hydrant is to mark his territory. In his mind, the fire hydrant and the area around it belong to him. As I said, the height of a fire hydrant is an added bonus because dogs may think of a vertical object like a fire hydrant as the marker of an edge…letting them lay claim to the whole section of grass near the fire hydrant!

However, another dog can change this by urinating over the spot where your dog just went, which leads to the next reason.


Overmarking happens when one dog urinates over the spot that another dog has previously gone. This can happen when two dogs are competing for territory or trying to establish dominance.

It can also happen because one dog simply wants his scent to be on something…kind of like a calling card saying ‘Fido was here!’.

It’s a Good Place To Go

Fire hydrants are a convenient spot for dogs to go potty, especially if they walk on a regular route. If a fire hydrant is where a dog stops for a rest or to wait to cross the street on their daily walks, they may be more likely to go when and where they have the time.

When I visit my mom, I see this frequently, though with the utility pole rather than a fire hydrant. There’s a utility pole in the corner of the neighbor’s yard, right at the only crosswalk for half a mile. I’ve seen more dogs go on that pole, where people wait to cross the street than what seems like everywhere else combined!

Learned It From Other Dogs

Dogs are known to learn a lot of things from watching other dogs. So of course they can also get the idea of urinating on fire hydrants from each other!

Though it is a common behavior for (male) dogs, not every dog will think to urinate on fire hydrants. However, if they see another dog doing it and getting away with it, they may be more likely to give it a try.


In some cases, a dog may pee on a fire hydrant due to stress. If a dog is in a new area and smells something new, he may be overwhelmed and unsure of his surroundings.

Peeing on a fire hydrant can help him reclaim his power over whatever new situation has them worried.

Is It Okay For Dogs To Pee On Fire Hydrants?

As long as your dog isn’t causing problems for you, other dogs, or the property owner, then it is probably okay for him to pee on fire hydrants. Most people who see a dog peeing on a fire hydrant probably don’t give it a second thought. Or they may have a quiet little chuckle at seeing something so stereotypically dog.

Of course, it’s always best to be mindful of your dog’s behavior and ensure that he’s not causing any issues or disrupting anyone else.

How Do I Stop My Dog From Peeing On The Fire Hydrant?

If your dog is going on a fire hydrant that you don’t want him to, you’re not alone in trying to break his pesky habit! When it comes to changing how a dog handles his call of nature, it can be difficult to know the best way to solve it.

Fortunately, with a bit of patience and understanding, you can guide your furry friend to break the habit and learn to treat fire hydrants with a little respect!

Basic Commands

Your best buddy should already understand many key commands that will come in handy when you’re trying to get him to stop going on a fire hydrant.

‘No’ is a useful command that you should already have in your arsenal, letting him know when and where you need him to stop.

And if he’s having a hard time with that and lagging behind as you start moving on, a good ‘come on’ can be used to get him walking away.

New Commands

Teaching your dog a new command specifically to keep him from urinating on fire hydrants can be useful. For example, using the command ‘go potty’ to tell your dog to go somewhere else to relieve themselves can be effective.

We’ve trained all of our dogs to understand this command, mainly so that when we’re short on time or about to take the dogs on a long car ride we can get them to relieve themselves.

To train your dog to understand ‘go potty’, simply say the command repeatedly when you see your dog going to the bathroom, and then offer praise when they are finished. In time, your dog will learn that when you say ‘go potty’, it’s time to get down to business.

Give Your Dog A Spot To Go

Designating an acceptable spot on your walks for your dog to go potty and then training him to go there can also be helpful. Use the ‘go potty’ command or other forms of positive reinforcement to encourage your dog to use this spot.

With time and consistent training, your dog should learn to go in his ‘potty spot’ and, with the help of commands like ‘no’, avoid going on the fire hydrant.

Keep Your Dog Away From Fire Hydrants

If your dog just isn’t getting it, then maybe you’ll want to try avoiding areas with fire hydrants. After all, if you can do it, it’s a very effective solution. When choosing where to walk, try going a block further, crossing the street, or whatever else is necessary to avoid fire hydrants. This can help prevent the temptation for your dog to go potty on them.

Do Female Dogs Pee On Fire Hydrants Too?

The answer is yes, although not with the same frequency or ease as male dogs. If a female dog wants to go on a fire hydrant, she often stakes out her territory by urinating in spots right next to a fire hydrant, like in the grass or gravel, rather than directly onto the pillar itself.

Why Do Dogs Prefer To Urinate On Fire Hydrants?

While some may assume that dogs have a natural affinity towards these bright red beacons, the truth is more complex. It turns out that dogs don’t actually have a clear preference for fire hydrants over other objects, it’s just that fire hydrants are everywhere and so a meme was born.

In fact, if there were no fire hydrants available, our good boys would likely be just as content to mark their territory on a tree, fence post, or large stone!

Summary: Why Do Dogs Pee On Fire Hydrants?

It is clear that dogs pee on fire hydrants for a variety of reasons. From marking their territory to overmarking other dogs, from convenience to learning from others or due to stress – it appears that the behavior has become part of canine culture in many parts of the world. Understanding why your dog pees on fire hydrants can help you figure out how best to address this issue and stop it if necessary.

Overall, it’s important to remember that urinating on fire hydrants is a normal behavior for many dogs. While you may not want your dog to do it, in some cases it might be unavoidable.

That said, with patience and consistency in training, many pet owners can teach their pets how to avoid the temptation of going onto fire hydrants or other inappropriate places when they need to go potty.

With an understanding of why your pup might be doing this and by using positive reinforcement techniques like commands and rewards – you should be successful at helping him (or her!) break this habit!


Why does my dog pee on the fire hydrant? ›

One of the foremost explanations for this behavior is that your dog is catching the scent of another animal. Canines are genetically disposed to marking their territory with urine. In ancient times, this served as a form of communication to other dogs letting them know territorial borders.

How do I stop my dog from peeing protests? ›

Watch your dog when he is indoors for signs that he is thinking about urinating. When he begins to urinate, interrupt him with a loud noise and take him outside. If he urinates outside, praise him and give him a treat. When you're unable to watch him, confine your dog (a crate or small room where he has never marked).

Can dogs revenge pee? ›

Dogs do not pee out of anger or when they get mad. Anger, or frustration, rather, in dogs can manifest in a whole host of unpleasant ways, but “anger pee” is not one of them. Dogs do, however, often pee from just being overstimulated or excited, which can sometimes be mistaken for “anger” by humans.

Why do dogs pee against Poles? ›

1. Dogs mark their territory by urinating on a pole or tire. This is their way of contacting their other companions. When a dog urinates on a pole or tire, they pass information, which is then available to other dogs who will smell that pole or tire.

How do you scold a dog to pee? ›

You can train away submissive peeing by doing the following: Ignore the behavior. When your dog submissively pees, pretend that it didn't happen for a few minutes. Scolding or praising at this point will only reinforce your dog's belief that he needs to submit to you by peeing.

Should I yell at my dog for peeing? ›

Punishment can make things worse

It's unlikely the dog will understand why you are yelling. This is especially the case if there is a time lag between the mess being made and you discovering it. Unfortunately what they might learn is not to pee in front of you.

Does rubbing a dogs nose in pee work? ›

Never rub a dog's nose in urine or feces, or punish a dog for an “accident.” This will teach your dog to fear you, and he may hide when he has to “go.” It is not instinctive for dogs to relieve themselves outside; it is only natural for them to not go where they sleep.

How do I train my dog to stop peeing on everything? ›

10 Proven Ways to Stop Your Dog from Peeing in the House
  1. Visit Your Veterinarian. ...
  2. Clean Up Accidents Properly. ...
  3. Spay or Neuter Your Dog. ...
  4. Train (or Retrain) Your Dog. ...
  5. Give Lots of Potty Breaks. ...
  6. Identify and Eliminate Anxiety Triggers. ...
  7. Calm the Excitement. ...
  8. Introduce New Things Carefully.

How do you break a dog from peeing on everything? ›

More tips
  1. Clean soiled areas thoroughly with a cleaner specifically designed to eliminate urine odor. ...
  2. Make previously soiled areas inaccessible or unattractive. ...
  3. Keep objects likely to cause marking out of reach. ...
  4. Resolve conflicts between animals in your home. ...
  5. Make friends.

Can dog watch you pee? ›

Why do dogs watch me pee? They're standing guard. Most animals are at their most vulnerable when they're relieving themselves. Your dog knows this – and they worry about you when you pee.

Do dogs pee when mad at you? ›

It's an instinctual, physical response called submissive urination, and it's normal in young dogs. Submissive urination typically happens whenever a dog feels excited, shy, anxious, or scared. It also happens when a dog wants to acknowledge another's dominance — like recognizing you as their owner.

Does it hurt dogs to hold their pee? ›

But, regularly letting your dog hold their pee for too long increases the risk of certain issues including: Urinary tract infections. Peeing flushes bacteria and toxins that are accumulated in the kidney, bladder, and urethra. When your dog holds their pee, the bacteria can spread throughout the urinary tract.

How do I stop my dog from peeing where he shouldn t? ›

Watch your dog when they are indoors for signs that they are thinking about urinating. When they begin to urinate, interrupt them with a loud noise and take them outside. If they urinate outside, praise them and give them a treat.

How do I stop my dog from peeing dominance? ›

Neutering. If the dog is sexually intact, neutering is the first step. In many cases, male dogs that are neutered stop urine marking within weeks to months of the procedure. Female dogs that are spayed almost always stop the behavior. However, behavior modification is often needed as well.

Why do dogs follow you when you pee? ›

Oh, and they're ten times more squishable. “The main reason dogs follow us to the bathroom is because they like to be where we are,” Dr. Coppola explains. “Dogs are obligate social animals, which means socialization is a genuinely natural behavior for them.

How long can you leave a dog to pee? ›

Puppies: one hour per every month of age (so a three month old puppy can wait three hours to pee) Adult dogs age one year and up: up to eight hours, but ideally no more than six. Senior dogs age eight and up: depending on size and health, anywhere from two to six hours.

Is yelling at your dog OK? ›

Your pooch needs to be trained with love and compassion. New research suggests that adversely training, e.g. yelling at, your dog could cause long-term psychological harm. Dogs that had undergone adverse training methods were found to have higher cortisol levels in their saliva and displayed more stress behaviors.

Do dogs feel guilty after peeing in the house? ›

So, while they can associate your reaction with the pee or item being in the room, they don't associate your reaction with the actual act of peeing or destroying said item. In other words, dogs don't feel guilt, they just know you are angry at them and they are feeling scared or anxious about it.

Should you whisper to your dog? ›

Speak in a normal, tone of voice. If you really want to get your dog's attention try whispering. Make it fun.

What do dogs sniff before peeing? ›

When your dog sniffs before pooping or peeing, they are checking for scent marking from other dogs. So, if you have wondered why do dogs sniff the ground on walks, the answer is that they are using their instincts for safety and information.

Why did my dog pee on my bed in front of me? ›

Sometimes dogs use urine to mark objects, including your bed. Studies have shown dogs don't mark to claim territory, it's more like graffiti that says, “I was here.” So, they aren't telling you the bed belongs to them but are more likely adding their scent to a communal space.

Do you scold a dog for pooping in the house? ›

The Best Option: Ignore Them

Dogs crave human attention, with studies even showing that their oxytocin levels increase when they stare into their owner's eyes. So, if you find poop in the house, don't make a big deal out of it.

What kills the smell of dog urine? ›

Baking soda naturally neutralizes odors. Sprinkle it liberally on the damp area or even an old urine stain, and work the powder gently into the fibers of any fabric, rug or carpet. Let the baking soda sit overnight for maximum odor absorption, then vacuum it up to remove the smell completely.

What stops dogs peeing in certain areas? ›

The Top 5 Smells Dogs Hate to Pee On
  • Citrus. The citrus smell is arguably the best dog repellent there is. ...
  • Vinegar. Just like citrus, dogs cannot stand the smell of vinegar. ...
  • Chili. Hot chili is a popular dog repellent. ...
  • Alcohol. Dogs hate the smell of alcohol. ...
  • Coffee Grounds.

Can you train a dog to stop submissive peeing? ›

When your dog urinates submissively, do not punish him or her or express frustration. Either ignore the behavior and walk away or calmly take your dog outside and reward him or her for urinating outdoors. Avoid aggressive or dominant gestures.

Is it OK to put diapers on a dog? ›

Our team answers this question with a resounding yes! Diapers not only make life easier for senior pets, but they also make life less stressful for their owners. Our behavioral training can help your senior pet get accustomed to wearing diapers.

Why do dogs look at you when pooping? ›

Eye Contact

You'd think she'd look away in hopes of getting a little privacy, but she locks eyes with you instead. That's because when your dog is in that pooping position, she's vulnerable, and she's looking to you to protect her. "Your dog is instinctively aware of his defenselessness.

Why you shouldn't let your dog follow you to the bathroom? ›

It's perfectly normal for dogs to follow you into the bathroom—and perfectly normal if they don't. The only cause for concern would be if your dog gets seriously anxious about being alone while you're in the bathroom, even for a few minutes. It could be a sign of separation anxiety in dogs.

How old is 7 years in dog years? ›

So a 7-year-old dog would be roughly 62.1 human years old.

How do dogs show they are mad at you? ›

Don't expect an angry, “Bad human! Go!” but dogs do have plenty of ways of telling you to keep your distance because they are not happy with you right now. This can mean he darts away from you or it can also be a hard stare, flattened ears, paw lift, sharp barks, or a raised tail among other signs, Askeland says.

What do dogs do when they sense death? ›

You can also expect a ton of barking, howling, and vocalizations, an attempt by your dog to get your attention about what they know. Watch for lots of following around, extra attention, and melancholy behavior from your doggo, too. Here are a few signs your dog might be giving you if they're sensing death: Barking.

What happens when a dog holds urine too long? ›

There's potential health risks associated with forcing your dog to hold its pee for too long. Although he physically might be able to do so, extended periods of holding it in can lead to urinary tract infections or urinary crystals and stones. The inability to urine can also lead to behavioral issues.

How long can a dog hold pee overnight? ›

Dogs can go for 8 to 10 hours without urinating overnight, while sleeping. However, all dogs need to be taken out after a meal or a drink, upon waking up and after a period of play. Health: Urinary frequency in dogs will vary due to factors such as age, sex, body size and overall health.

How long can a dog hold its poop? ›

Most healthy, adult dogs will readily go to the bathroom an hour or so after a meal. They can, however, hold their stool much longer if necessary. In fact, for the most part, a healthy adult dog can hold their stool for 12 hours or more. If you get stuck in traffic or at the office, your dog could be OK.

What is a homemade dog pee repellent? ›

If your dog is urinating or pooping inside the house, squeeze roughly 100 milliliters of lemon juice mixed with 50 ml water and a tablespoon of baking soda. Apply this dog repellent spray over the area and let it act for 30 minutes. Remove the baking soda for a completely natural repellent.

Who do dogs pee when they see you? ›

Submissive urination is a behavior in which a dog pees as a response to fear or anxiety. It can be more common in young puppies who are gaining confidence, but can also occur in adult dogs.

Should I let my dog sleep with me? ›

Studies have shown many physical and mental health advantages to owning a pet, and co-sleeping increases the amount of time spent with that pet, potentially increasing those benefits. For example, co-sleeping can increase the feelings of comfort and companionship your dog provides.

What does it mean if your dog follows you everywhere? ›

If your dog follows you everywhere then it's a sign that they trust and love you and that you make them feel safe. Following you very closely can be a sign that they're bored, they want something, they're feeling scared or are just being nosy.

Do dogs pee on hydrants? ›

If something about this environment seems different to your pup, she may choose to urinate on certain landmarks, like the corner fire hydrant, or the base of a tree, to communicate to other dogs that she's been there and that this is part of her territory.

Can you break a dog from excited peeing? ›

If your dog pees when you come back home, keeping your greeting short and low-key when you return, as well as diverting their attention and distracting them with a treat, could help reduce their excited peeing over time.

Why do dogs suddenly start peeing everywhere? ›

Urinary tract infections, cystitis (bladder inflammation), bladder stones, kidney disease, or arthritis or age-related incontinence could all be causes of house soiling in dogs.

Why does my dog pee in the water bowl at the dog park? ›

Your dog could be acting out of dominance, insecurity, excitement or marking. Here are some ideas to try to prevent or change his behavior. If you have a spigot available, attach a Lixit automatic dog waterer. With this device, dogs lick the toggle and water drips out.

Do dogs feel the urge to pee? ›

Initially, a dog feels the need to urinate when their bladder is half-full. The body senses the swelling of the bladder and informs the dog that it's ready to be relieved. A dog may start to show signs of needing to go before it is vital that they go.

What do dogs like peeing on? ›

Dogs prefer to pee on things that are vertical, like poles, fire hydrants, and tire wheels. When dogs pee on a vertical object, they're putting their mark at nose level, which is much better than the ground. Leaving their mark this way communicates many things, but also how big the dog is.

At what age do dogs stop peeing when excited? ›

The good news for you is that excitement peeing usually happens to puppies under 1 year of age, and they typically grow out of it.

Why does my dog watch me pee? ›

They're standing guard. Most animals are at their most vulnerable when they're relieving themselves. Your dog knows this – and they worry about you when you pee.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Laurine Ryan

Last Updated: 02/18/2023

Views: 5915

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (77 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Laurine Ryan

Birthday: 1994-12-23

Address: Suite 751 871 Lissette Throughway, West Kittie, NH 41603

Phone: +2366831109631

Job: Sales Producer

Hobby: Creative writing, Motor sports, Do it yourself, Skateboarding, Coffee roasting, Calligraphy, Stand-up comedy

Introduction: My name is Laurine Ryan, I am a adorable, fair, graceful, spotless, gorgeous, homely, cooperative person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.