My Dog Peed on Someone at the Dog Park? (Here’s Why!)

“My dog peed on someone at the dog park,” Does it sound like a familiar situation?

You’ll find the most common explanations for why dogs act this way and suggestions for putting a stop to it below.

Numerous reports have surfaced of dogs spraying parkgoers. If this sounds all too familiar, keep reading; the causes of this trend will be discussed.

First, you must understand that this is normal dog behavior, though it could have several different causes.

So why does my dog pee on someone at the dog park?

Territorial marking, anxiety, greeting, excitement, etc., are just a few of the many emotions and situations that can prompt this behavior in a dog. Of course, these things happen occasionally, but your dog seems to take them to an extreme.

Seeing your dog urinate on a stranger is humiliating, to put it mildly.

However, to help you understand your dog’s behavior and put an end to it, we’ve compiled a list of the most common reasons why dogs behave this way.

They’re just being territorial 

Canines are well-known for being extremely possessive of their territory. Dogs often use urine as a territorial marker, and this is a behavior that is seen frequently.

Dogs can often take lengthy sprints just to set off squirts of urine on their target. In this case, it’s a new person in the park.

Whether you like it or not, your dog notices every little thing that goes on in its surroundings. So if something changes, they’re sure to notice this firsthand and will try as much to be territorial.

Your dog may be claiming strangers in the park as part of his territory if he urinates on them. It’s more of a domineering trait. This behavior could also occur if your dog encounters another dog while at the park.

It’s just another vertical surface

It’s no news that dogs love urinating on vertical surfaces— bushes, fire hydrants, lampposts, trash cans, car tires, and even human legs.

For whatever reason, they prefer to urinate against vertical surfaces rather than the ground, even though this is more commonly interpreted as canine territory marking. 

The good part is, human targets can thank their lucky stars that the amount of urine used to mark is significantly less than when the dog is urinating.

dog peeing on a vertical surface at a dog park

Still, there’s a lot to take into consideration when dogs tend to mark their territories. First, it is “instinctive” for dogs to mark their territory, more like a dominant trait in dogs, and they will mark this by spraying their urine on target surfaces, including people in the park.

What your dog is basically saying is, “I’m here now, and this is my territory.”

But why vertical surfaces? 

When you examine the psychology behind this act, you may find that it is only normal for your dog to do this.

First, dogs love to make the best impression. Hence, they will aim for higher surfaces. This way, it’s directly in close proximity with another other dog’s nose

Additionally, vertical surfaces will hold a scent longer as compared to horizontal ones. 

So, peeing on a stranger’s leg in a dog park is just another vertical surface.

Submission urination 

This one can bring out the kook in some canines. Excited or submissive dogs will wag their tails, stoop their backs, or roll over onto their bellies.

Oh, and what the heck is that spray of urine? Seems like a situation you’ve been in before?

In some cases, judging a dog’s behavior as soon as it gets at it is unfair.

Knowing how your dog reacts when people arrive may provide some insight into their motivations.

Some dogs, whether out of excitement or submission, may greet visitors by lying on the floor and wagging their tails. It’s possible that in the process they get a little overjoyed and urinate, and it just happens that the guest is standing mere centimeters away from the flow of urine.

This is perfectly normal, and the dog in question is likely urinating out of excitement or submission rather than territorial marking (if it doesn’t lift one leg up).

Your dog may have lost control of its bladder

Older dogs that are fond of urinating on people’s legs may have incontinence issues.

And it just so happens that your dog is caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time where he happens to be close to a stranger at the park when it happens.

Of course, this can become a problem for older dogs, just like in people. If this is the case, you should immediately make an appointment with your veterinarian.

Your veterinarian may be able to prescribe a medication that will help your pet control its urge to urinate.

Accidental urination 

Your dog probably doesn’t urinate on other people intentionally all the time.

Inadvertent occurrences of this nature can occur in two different ways.

To begin, your dog might give little or no thought to the location of their bathroom breaks. But, again, it may be a wrong place and time situation.

It’s possible that they’ll be running around one minute and then have to stop and use the restroom the next. Accidents can occur because dogs can get distracted if they already have a lot to deal with, especially in activity-filled places like the dog park.

But like any other reason, it’s just an accident and may not necessarily be a regular behavior.

Your dog is just overjoyed 

If your dog is prone to getting excited in public, you should avoid those settings.

over-excited dog playful in the park

When dogs get excited, they often become overwhelmed and unable to cope with the wave of feelings that sweeps over them.

Consequently, they might “redirect” their attention to something that seems completely unrelated. Like taking a piddle on the legs of strangers in the park.


Some dogs get nervous whenever strangers are present in their personal space. You have to understand that your dog isn’t used to these new humans in his environment. And that includes their scent. 

Dogs will readily get nervous if they’re faced with an entirely new environment, human, and even scents that they’re more likely to be interested in.

So, to mask that unusual scent, they urinate on strangers or unfamiliar objects in the hopes that the resulting scent will be more similar to a scent they’re familiar with.

Additionally, your dog may be sensitive to the odor of other dogs and may try to cover it up with its urine if your guests have been in contact with another dog.

How to stop your dog from peeing on people

Spay/neuter dog

You should have your dog spayed or neutered as soon as possible. Spaying or neutering a dog can make it easier to prevent them from marking their territory on people at the park.

However, the longer you wait, the more challenging it will be. Having your dog spayed or neutered can lessen or eliminate the marking behavior.

On the other hand, a pattern may have emerged from prolonged marking. Spaying or neutering will not eliminate the problem if the behavior is learned.

To prevent your dog from marking everywhere you go, try using the methods listed below.

Redirect your dog’s focus and reward 

Although it is embarrassing when dogs pee on strangers, physically punishing your dog is not advisable, as this could backfire. Instead, it would be best if you only used positive reinforcement

In order to discourage this behavior, redirecting your dog’s focus elsewhere and rewarding it with a treat can be very effective. In all likelihood, Fido won’t urinate on a stranger’s leg if he is preoccupied with his food.

In other cases, you can call on your dog when you notice certain behaviors like sniffing around and then lifting a leg to let it fly.

What you can do here is call out to your dog (your dog’s recall should be near-perfect for this to work). And when he comes running, you can reward him for being a good boy.

Socializing your dog could help

If your dog gets easily excited when it comes in contact with new people, then you need to do more work socializing your dog if it only relieves itself around strangers.

They’ll benefit more in the long run if you start working with them early on. 

Having your dog meet many different people is essential.

Once in a while, you should take them out for strolls in the park or other populated areas.

Doing so will acclimate them to new people, reducing the intensity of their initial reaction. Though it may be more difficult if your dog is no longer a puppy, it is still possible to train an adult dog.


Now, you know why your dog pees on someone at the dog park. If your dog has a habit of urinating on people, it’s important to take action before the situation escalates.

One of the most common reasons behind this is that someone might be the way while your dog is marking.

In other situations, your dog could be excited or just anxious. You may try distracting your dog when you notice they’re about to do the act. Socializing your dog could also be a great solution towards warding off this negative behavior.

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