Lift That Leg!
November 16, 2004 8:52 AM   Subscribe

My dog won't lift his leg when he urinates. Typically I wouldn't be too concerned about this, except for the fact that he has terrible skin (allergies) and I think that contact from him basically sitting in urine is not helping the problem.

For what it's worth, he is an english bulldog and coming up on his second birthday. Is it just too soon to expect him to raise that leg? Is there anything I can do to expedite the process?

I've always had female dogs before, so this has never been an issue...
posted by hummus to Pets & Animals (11 answers total)
Male dogs usually won't lift their legs when they urinate if they're neutered early. Is that the case?
posted by zsazsa at 9:19 AM on November 16, 2004

Response by poster: I had him neutered around 8 months of age, which is not too early, from everything I could obsessively read about it.
posted by hummus at 9:33 AM on November 16, 2004

i have male dogs, neither of whom lifts his leg when his knees are sore (inasmuch as you can tell that a dog has an ache or pain). one has been seen to squat when the place he feels compelled to mark isn't against a tree, hydrant, curb &c. (yes, i know too much about my dogs' urinating habits. you notice things when you walk them every day) i didn't train either dog to lift his leg; both just started doing so, around one year of age. i can't imagine how you'd teach this. maybe biscotti or someone else has an idea.

are you saying that bulldog has never lifted his leg, but has always squatted? even so, i'd be more concerned that he was urinating on himself than i would be concerned that he was squatting. i've seen dogs pee on one another, but i've never seen one urinate on his own leg, even the ones who squat. have you had a vet check him for bladder/urethra problems?
posted by crush-onastick at 9:54 AM on November 16, 2004

Response by poster: He's not peeing on himself, really, it's more that he is just squatting too low and ends up sitting in it. I chalk it up to odd body shape.

One year? Huh -- that passed a while back.,
posted by hummus at 10:21 AM on November 16, 2004

my dog only lifts his leg when peeing on something (a pole, a bench, a tree, etc.). If there is no verticle object around, he just squats and yes, sometimes pees on his on foot or sometimes it rolls down the hill onto his foot. He also has bad skin so I understand where you're coming from. I recommend you wipe him down after each walk, which is a pain in the ass but...
posted by dobbs at 10:21 AM on November 16, 2004

When he goes to piss, grab a leg and pull it up. Do this for a while and he'll figure it out.

I read that in a dog training book. But having only a pair of female dogs, it's really not an issue. It would be cool to teach the younger dog to lift her leg, though...
posted by waldo at 12:33 PM on November 16, 2004

As I understand it, lifting the leg is learned behavior. If your dog hasn't been around other males he hasn't had the opportunity to learn it.

This may be complete and total bullshit, but I'm not interested in googling it. I present it to you as-is, with no warranty express or implied.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:47 PM on November 16, 2004

Some dogs just never lift their legs, even when around dogs who do, although my own experience tends to make me think that it can be a learned behaviour in some dogs. My current dog started lifting his leg very early, but I've had one male who never did, and a female who often did. You are unlikely to be successful with waldo's method, and I agree with dobbs' suggestion to just wipe him down. As an aside, skin problems can often be improved or even resolved with an improvement in diet. Even Bulldogs, who I'm sure you know are extremely prone to them.
posted by biscotti at 3:31 PM on November 16, 2004

By the way, physiologically, it can be quite difficult for a typical Bully to lift his leg - short-legged, heavy, leg-at-each-corner body types don't lend themselves easily to leg-lifting. It may be as simple as your dog just not finding it physically comfortable to do.
posted by biscotti at 3:34 PM on November 16, 2004

Having always had female dogs before, and now having my first male I was interested in the same question. I was interested in the question because of pee-spots on the lawn caused by my female dog, and I was hoping that the male would lift his leg and pee on a fence pole or something rather than squat on the lawn. What I found out was that most neutered males don't lift their leg. Even dogs that learned the behavior would often quit after neutering. Rocky (a medium-sized Husky-mix)is now 11 months old (he was neutered around 6 months) and he still squats. There is no physiological reason why he can't lift his leg either. Another thing I remember about this is the leg-hiking behavior is more about marking than elimination, and neutered males are unlikely to mark.
posted by AstroGuy at 5:51 PM on November 16, 2004

Bulldogs have congenital acromegaly, which leads to arthritis. It may just not be comfortable for your dog to lift a leg.
posted by ikkyu2 at 6:49 PM on November 16, 2004

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