Why Does My Dog Roll Over on His Back and Pee in the Air?

My dog has a habit that really annoys me: He takes “roll over” to a new level by peeing in the air.

Dogs may pee in the air to show their submission to their human. By: aschaf

My pit bull, Bunker, is one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever had. He just celebrated his 7th birthday, and I love him more every day. However, he has a habit that really annoys me — he takes the “roll over on your back” trick to the next level.

This habit makes me question, “Why does my dog roll over on his back and pee in the air?” It isn’t a major problem when it’s just my husband and me, but when we have visitors, it can be rather embarrassing (sometimes his aim is a little off).

Pack Behavior

Perhaps this unwanted behavior is caused by excitement, or it could be submissive wetting — to let our visitors know that he accepts their higher rank. Dogs see all the people and other dogs in the household as a pack, with each having their rank, including a “top dog.”

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The key to most behavior problems is to approach them using the dog’s natural instincts.

You can learn to play the role of “top dog” by reading some training books or enrolling your dog in a good obedience class. As you praise your pup for following commands, his confidence will build up.

It will also be good to play tug-of-war with your submissive dog, with you being the loser. When the game has ended, be sure to put the tug toy away so your playmate will still see you as the leader.

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Give Your Dog a Den

Make sure your dog has his own den to live in — a place he can relax and feel safe in. It needs to be just big enough for your grown dog to stretch out in. Praise him for going into his den.

Watch this dog get a kick out of rolling on his back in the grass (and not peeing in the air):

According to Beagles for Dummies, a dog who rolls over on his back and dribbles does not have a house-training problem. Instead, his submissive instinct is merely a display of his love for you, and his peeing shows how happy he is to see you.

Tips on Curbing Submissive Wetting

Submissive wetting is easy to fix.

Start by ignoring your dog when you enter the room. After a few minutes, sit on the floor. Don’t look directly at your dog, as he may feel threatened by your stare. Don’t try to hug or kiss him. If he gets excited, chances are he’s going to pee. Build your dog’s confidence by making yourself less intimidating.

If your dog still pees in the air, remember that he just wants to show, in his own special way, that he is happy to see you and accepts you as his “top dog.”

Bunker may never outgrow this annoying habit, but I will love him for who he is — my top dog.

Gayle Hickman

View posts by Gayle Hickman
Gayle Hickman has been researching and writing about pet behaviors since 2011. In addition to Petful, her articles have appeared on Reader's Digest, Yahoo Shine and WebVet, to name a few.

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