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D2007-44

Dear Daisy Dog

Winston, our 8-month-old wire fox terrier, squatted to urinate until recently, when he began lifting his leg. How did he learn this new behavior?

Daisy Responds

By watching other male dogs.

Leg lifting is primarily a learned behavior. My late brother Jack lifted his leg so high he would teeter and almost fall over.

My new brother, Ollie, stretches his body, keeping all four feet on the ground when he urinates.

Gender hormones don’t play a substantial role. In fact, some female dogs squat and lift one hind leg slightly when they urinate.

Similarly, timing of neutering has little impact on leg lifting. Jack was neutered as a puppy and Ollie as an adult.

Leg lifting is just something most boy dogs learn from watching the other boys. In contrast, we girls think for ourselves.

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