How Dogs Use Urine to Communicate

Have you ever taken your dog on a what was supposed to be a short walk, only to have to stop several times along the way? Did it seem like your pooch was sniffing possibly every single blade of grass, every rock and every fire hydrant? It can be bothersome for us (especially if in a rush) but to dogs, this ritual is important!

That’s because dogs use their nose and analyze scents as their means of conversation. Think of it is as their own personal version of social media, or more accurately for them, Pee-book! Since they can’t use email or a telephone – at least not yet – they have their own method and they take this method very seriously!

While it might seem a little disgusting to us, dogs can decipher “pages” of information simply from smelling the areas where another dog has urinated. They are able to understand whether the dog was stressed, ready for mating, tall, short and what their status was on the hierarchy!

While they smell many areas along your walk, they also may choose to “write back” or leave a scent of their own. This is their way of leaving a calling card for future pooches who wander along the same path!

What might look like a normal plant to you yields a world of information and conversation for your pooch. They want to communicate back to the previous dog or dogs who have previously marked that plant or blade of grass as their own!

Often, it might appear to us that our dogs couldn’t possibly be able to urinate any more, as they might have already gone several times already during one walk, but it doesn’t mean there is a medical issue. Most of the time, they urinate on various spots to leave a message.

Since a dog’s nose is powerful in that it can smell much more and much further away than our own noses can, you may also find your dog is pulling you in different directions as you walk. Many times, it can be dizzying while holding the leash or they may even take you on a walk much farther than you had anticipated! But, trust your pooch. They smell something interesting and if only they could convey to us what it is that they are sniffing, there would be a very interesting story.

I recall my golden retriever Goldie, who was completely blind, would lead me on what seemed like a wild goose chase on our walks- to the point where other walkers would ask me if she was really blind! However, there always was a reason for her wandering, whether it was to smell a popular spot where other dogs have urinated, or to find a small dead rat or bird.

So, the next time your dog seems to be wandering aimlessly, watch them closely! Take note of the expression on their face. Most likely, they look intrigued and interested. They are probably having a great deal of mental stimulation reading messages that others have left for them!

Elizabeth Parker – Author of Finally Home, Final Journey, My Dog Does That!, Bark Out Loud!, Paw Prints in the Sand, Paw Prints in the Sand: Mission Accomplished, Unwanted Dreams, Phobia, Evil’s Door and Faces of Deception.  Available on!