Why Do Some Dogs Pee While Doing Handstands?

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington
Have you ever seen a dog mark his territory while balancing on his front legs? Here’s why dogs pee while doing a handstand.

It’s a common sight for male dog – he always lifts one of his back legs to pee. But have you ever seen him doing a handstand while peeing? Probably not. But there are dogs out there that do it, as strange as it may be, it actually serves a purpose.

Assume the Peeing Position!

It may sound like a strange idea, but if you actually take the time to observe your dog peeing in different circumstances you might notice that his position changes.

Some research suggests that various social functions as well as the dog’s proximity to its home may influence the way in which a dog urinates. One study of female dogs identified two postures that were used more often when the dog was away from home than when she was in familiar territory – these positions are called the squat-raise and the arch-raise.

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To give you an idea what different positions look like, here’s a brief pee position overview:

  • Stand: The dog pees while standing normally.
  • Lean: The dog stands on all fours and leans forward slightly.
  • Raise: The dog stands on all fours and lifts one leg.
  • Lean-Raise: The dog stands on all fours, leans forward and lifts one leg.
  • Squat-Raise: The dog squats down while slightly lifting one leg.
  • Squat: The dog squats down without lifting a leg.
  • Arch-Raise: The dog arches the back and lifts a leg.

In addition to these common positions there is one more than is not quite so common – the handstand. Yes, some dogs actually tilt their bodies forward until they are literally walking on two paws while urinating.

What Purpose Does a Handstand Serve?

Sometimes it may seem like our dogs do strange things for no reason at all, but if you delve a little deeper you may be able to identify a reason. When it comes to dogs that perform handstands while they pee, there are several possibilities.

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Aside from being a biological need, urination is also a tool dogs use to mark their territory. It has been discovered that it’s most frequently smaller dogs that perform handstands while peeing. This could be because the handstand position raises the dog’s back end higher off the ground so that his urine stream can spray farther, perhaps mimicking or covering the stream of a larger dog. Some dogs only perform handstands when spraying against a vertical object such as a wall or a tree, though this is not always the case.

You can learn a lot about your dog just by observing his behavior. From the way he holds his tail when greeting a new friend to the way he positions his body when peeing, dog behavior is always an intriguing subject of study. Try paying a little more attention to exactly how your dog moves and behaves for a day and you might make some interesting discoveries!

Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

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