By Sunday, September 8, 2019 18 No tags Permalink

Squat, lift or both – which does your dog prefer when it’s time to water the grass?

Harley does it all #renaissanceDoodle

I have no idea why this subject baffles me so much. Just about everyday when I walk the Boys I think – 

today is going to be the day

As we head out I’m thinking – is today the day?

What “day” you ask?

The day that four and a half year old Jaxson will lift his leg over a scrub, bush, or blade of grass as he empties his bladder. 

Not happening…

Sort of a peculiar stance don’t you think?

He continues to squat every single time.

Three years ago I wrote a post titled leg lifts vs. squats. Initially I thought Jax was squatting because he was a puppy.

Those days are gone, I mean – he is still my “baby” but he will be five years old in December and I just don’t think this leg lifting thing is happening.

I’m not “bothered” or “haunted” by this – just curious, so I did a little digging.


According to Dr. Betty McGuire – a senior lecture at Cornell University who studies scent markings in shelter dogs:

There are two predominant patterns for male dogs; the typical raised-leg posture with one rear leg held up, and the juvenile lean-forward posture where the dog keeps all feet on the ground. Graduating to leg lifting is not a forgone conclusion since there is no “rite of passage” age when all male dogs begin leg lifting.

Everything You Need to Know About Leg Lifting

She definitely had Jaxson’s number…

Unlike Harley, Jaxson always wants to look at me while he does his business…

Yet even after reading the article – I still wanted to know why MY male dog didn’t engage in leg lifting. But what I did find sounded like a bit of a reach #keepingitreal

One study found in order for male dogs to regularly engage in leg-lifting behavior, they would have had to been exposed to testosterone around the time of birth

Really? I can’t even begin to process that.


Seems that’s the term to describe Harley’s leg lifting patterns. He exhibits no preference as to which leg goes up when he’s doing his business…

He will water just about everything!

But he’s also a squatter. In one walk he can alternate like he’s doing aerobics – lift, squat, lift, squat…

There’s never any indicator/pattern on when/why he decides to squat – never!


Since I’m pouring my deepest most ridiculous secrets out to you 🙂 – have you ever paid attention to the smaller dogs who raise their leg so freaking high they look like they’re going to topple over at any minute.

I’m talking high like this…

This takes true balancing talent – I ca’t lift my leg that high – can you?

Well let me tell you – I found out why, and you won’t be ready for this one. 

Small dogs want all the other dogs who pass by to think he’s much larger! If they urinate high up on a surface, the urine can flow downward covering a greater area, which leaves a stronger message to anyone who passes by. Starting up high may make a dog seem bigger than he actually is. 

Why Do Small Dogs Lift Their Legs Higher to Pee


According to PetMD there are twelve different positions that a dog uses to pee, and the positions have meaning. #notmakingthisup

Check it out – see if you can identify your dogs position (both male and females are discussed).

If I understand the descriptions correctly I see Jaxson alternating between two positions – 

  • Flex
  • Squat

Harley would be best described as –

  • Raise
  • Elevate
  • Squat 
  • Flex
  • Lean

Like I said, it’s rather interesting (either that or I need a life) #dontlaughatmejustloveme

Let me know which one best describes your pup…


If you read our post on Pavlov’s Theory I wanted to tell you that I believe our “classic conditioning” strategy is working. Harley – the begging Doodle – is hard to find these days. He seems content working for hugs, high pitch voices of praise and belly rubs…

Thank the Doodle we’re working this out!

As always – thanks for stopping by – we love our friends!

Make Monday special – be kind to someone ❤️

  • Madison
    September 9, 2019

    We are all girls, so 99% of the time we squat properly. I sometimes raise a leg, but I”m short, so I prop up my leg on the tree or fire hydrant. Bailie rarely lifts a leg unless the spot she needs to hit absolutely requires it. Olivia is too young, just squats. Happy peeing!

    • Cathy Bennett
      September 17, 2019

      You know Madison, until I wrote this post I always assumed that girls squatted, I never knew you all on occasion, lift a leg. See – I’m still learning…

  • Cheryl
    September 9, 2019

    Interesting blog, I have wondered the same thing about our granddoodle, Cody. Until he was about 4 he was a total squatter, now that he’s 6 he does both. I have noticed that it seems to depend on where he decides to pee. If there is something to lift his leg on he will, if not, such as the middle of the yard, he’ll squat. Which leads me to another question, does your lawn looked polka dotted? Wherever Cody has squatted to pee, the lawn has turned brown. Do you have a clue as to why this happens? I have seen various things to add to his water to stop this, but because I have no idea what’s in these things, I won’t use them. I’ll live with polka dots.
    I knew Harley would get with the program!

    • Cathy Bennett
      September 17, 2019

      Cody sounds like my Harley – adaptable to what’s available. Jaxson on the other hand, can pee squatting right next to a tree – it’s so crazy LOL In regards to the lawn, I know exactly what you’re referring to, used to see it with Leo, and now with Jaxson but never with Harley. It’s actually on my list of blog posts for this month, so stay tuned..

  • Ducky's Mom
    September 9, 2019

    I never really thought about my girls’ pee positions. As long as they weren’t/aren’t straining, I’m happy to let them pee in whatever position they want(ed).

    As for Harley’s begging issues – glad you got it resolved! Praise, pets, and lovies are always much better rewards that don’t cost anything and don’t add to the daily calorie intake!

    • Cathy Bennett
      September 17, 2019

      I kept waiting on Leo to lift his leg but he died so young it never happened. Before I knew it Jaxson was four years old and I thought – why isn’t he lifting his leg? Now I know – he might not ever lift his leg, and I’m good with that too. #themoreyouknow

  • Vicki Brumbelow
    September 9, 2019

    Charlie Charizard is am bilateral and squats. It seems to be related to whether it’s something raised like a Bush or a tree or if he is squatting to cover a flat ground level area like a lawn to cover a previous squatters area. In all honesty as long as he’s not marking territory in the house I’m happy. As far as Joey his habits were the same as Charlie Charizard and in fact I’d speculate that Charlie Charizard learned from Joey. Arthritis in his hips has left Joey with no alternative except to squat.

    • Cathy Bennett
      September 17, 2019

      Harley gets down so low sometimes I think he’s going to snap his back in two LOL I keep waiting for Jaxson to lift – even a little – but I don’t believe that will ever happen. Now that I know all the different positions and the reasons – I’m cool with it. All this time I thought he was a late bloomer HA!

  • Tails Around the Ranch
    September 9, 2019

    As he’s grown older, Sam prefers the heavy lean, although if he’s feeling especially peckish, he’ll hike/lift. Not anywhere close to what he’s trying to pee over, but lift all the same. Cracks me up. Everytime.

    • Cathy Bennett
      September 17, 2019

      One time Jaxson squated so low he was touching the leaves he was peeing on. I cracked up. Such entertainers they can be.

  • Debbie Matos
    September 10, 2019

    I chuckled- my labradoodle is a low low sweater, but Gracie Mae squats not so low or she had a left side half hike. Love them too much

    • Cathy Bennett
      September 17, 2019

      Dogs are the best entertainers I know. They crack me up even when they’re not trying to. Harley especially. I forgot to mention in my post how many times he must circle and prance back and forth in front of the bush before watering it. You would think it was some ancient ritual or something LOL Thanks for stopping by, please come back again soon.

  • Jan K
    September 12, 2019

    I’ve always found this fascinating too! That’s because our golden retriever, Moses, always squatted, even as he got older, and we were so surprised by that!
    But the best was that our female beagle Cricket, was a squat-raise. She squatted and raised her leg at the same time. But the hysterical thing was that she raised her leg forwards instead of backwards! Luke is by the book, raises his leg only. 🙂

    • Cathy Bennett
      September 17, 2019

      I saw Harley try to pee on this little tiny shrub this morning, cracked me up, he raised his leg so high the urine actually went over the shrub. Dogs can truly entertain us…

  • Irene McHugh
    September 18, 2019

    Always good to read how someone else has similar thoughts to me:) Bernie usually squats or does that leaning in thing. He lifts his leg most frequently when we’re on walks, which I think makes sense given the research on why dogs like to mark from a higher point.

    Now what still baffles me is why Bernie doesn’t like to do his business after it’s been raining. Granted, we’re in Arizona so rain is more rare, but he will not go outside onto the landscaped small rocks in our backyard after it rains. I have to walk him out front on the driveway, which is mostly sand. He will happily squat on sand after rain, but not those pebbles! What the heck, Dood? You’re so right! Dogs are an endless supply of love and entertainment.

    • Cathy Bennett
      September 18, 2019

      That is strange Irene – do you think Bernie believes the wet pebbles have already been marked and that’s why he refuses to wet them again?

      • Irene McHugh
        September 22, 2019

        I’m really not sure. For a while, he seemed to be pickier about the wet rocks in the winter, so we thought it was the cold. But this past summer, he started refusing to go potty on the wet rocks. He does seem to more particular about wet rocks at night, but not always. There have been some mornings when it has rained and I have to walk him out front in the driveway. He’s a complicated Doodle. LOL!

        • Cathy Bennett
          September 22, 2019

          HA! – they all are I think 🙂

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