Why Do Dogs Like To Pee On Fire Hydrants? 6 Reasons + How To Stop It

Dogs can add so much joy to our lives. I’m fortunate enough to know firsthand how great dogs can be; sometimes just their presence is enough to lift your spirits when you’re feeling down. I’ve been lucky to have dogs in my life since I was a little kid.

Nowadays, I have two dogs, Duke and Bella. Bella is happiest outside, whether that’s hiking or laying in the yard. My dog Duke, on the other hand, wants to be with me as much as possible. He absolutely loves coming with me to the office. He’s a charmer who makes the atmosphere at work cheery and lighter which brightens everyone’s day!

We need to make sure we return the favor…being good owners means that we should give our dogs the same courtesy and understanding that they give us. We should take care not to hold their mistakes against them but instead look for underlying issues and potential solutions.

Then we can take action (when appropriate) to encourage or change our dog’s behaviors as necessary.

So what about dogs that follow that cartoonish stereotype of urinating on fire hydrants? Why do dogs like to pee on fire hydrants? The quick and easy answer is that dogs probably pee on fire hydrants to mark their territory, because vertical things are good to pee on, they’re overmarking other dogs, it happens to be a convenient place to go, they learned it from other dogs or stress.

Common Reasons Your Dog Pees On Fire Hydrants

You have to admit, it’s a funny behavior that probably happened as soon as the first fire hydrant was invented.

I just went through a brief rundown of the top reasons why dogs pee on fire hydrants but if you need more details to help you determine while your dog is doing so, I’ll delve more deeply into the why, and how to stop it.

Fire Hydrants Are Vertical

For your dog, the vertical height of a fire hydrant may act as a fence or edge of a boundary to be marked (see below). And, the scent of his ‘marking’ may last longer and be more noticeable if he chooses to go on a hydrant!

Also, don’t forget – choosing to mark higher up might also be seen as an opportunity for our pooches to assert their dominance over other dogs!

Marking His Territory

Of course, one of the main reasons for a dog to go on a fire hydrant is to mark his territory. In his mind, the fire hydrant and the area around it belong to him. As I said, the height of a fire hydrant is an added bonus because dogs may think of a vertical object like a fire hydrant as the marker of an edge…letting them lay claim to the whole section of grass near the fire hydrant!

However, another dog can change this by urinating over the spot where your dog just went, which leads to the next reason.


Overmarking happens when one dog urinates over the spot that another dog has previously gone. This can happen when two dogs are competing for territory or trying to establish dominance.

It can also happen because one dog simply wants his scent to be on something…kind of like a calling card saying ‘Fido was here!’.

It’s a Good Place To Go

Fire hydrants are a convenient spot for dogs to go potty, especially if they walk on a regular route. If a fire hydrant is where a dog stops for a rest or to wait to cross the street on their daily walks, they may be more likely to go when and where they have the time.

When I visit my mom, I see this frequently, though with the utility pole rather than a fire hydrant. There’s a utility pole in the corner of the neighbor’s yard, right at the only crosswalk for half a mile. I’ve seen more dogs go on that pole, where people wait to cross the street than what seems like everywhere else combined!

Learned It From Other Dogs

Dogs are known to learn a lot of things from watching other dogs. So of course they can also get the idea of urinating on fire hydrants from each other!

Though it is a common behavior for (male) dogs, not every dog will think to urinate on fire hydrants. However, if they see another dog doing it and getting away with it, they may be more likely to give it a try.


In some cases, a dog may pee on a fire hydrant due to stress. If a dog is in a new area and smells something new, he may be overwhelmed and unsure of his surroundings.

Peeing on a fire hydrant can help him reclaim his power over whatever new situation has them worried.

Is It Okay For Dogs To Pee On Fire Hydrants?

As long as your dog isn’t causing problems for you, other dogs, or the property owner, then it is probably okay for him to pee on fire hydrants. Most people who see a dog peeing on a fire hydrant probably don’t give it a second thought. Or they may have a quiet little chuckle at seeing something so stereotypically dog.

Of course, it’s always best to be mindful of your dog’s behavior and ensure that he’s not causing any issues or disrupting anyone else.

How Do I Stop My Dog From Peeing On The Fire Hydrant?

If your dog is going on a fire hydrant that you don’t want him to, you’re not alone in trying to break his pesky habit! When it comes to changing how a dog handles his call of nature, it can be difficult to know the best way to solve it.

Fortunately, with a bit of patience and understanding, you can guide your furry friend to break the habit and learn to treat fire hydrants with a little respect!

Basic Commands

Your best buddy should already understand many key commands that will come in handy when you’re trying to get him to stop going on a fire hydrant.

‘No’ is a useful command that you should already have in your arsenal, letting him know when and where you need him to stop.

And if he’s having a hard time with that and lagging behind as you start moving on, a good ‘come on’ can be used to get him walking away.

New Commands

Teaching your dog a new command specifically to keep him from urinating on fire hydrants can be useful. For example, using the command ‘go potty’ to tell your dog to go somewhere else to relieve themselves can be effective.

We’ve trained all of our dogs to understand this command, mainly so that when we’re short on time or about to take the dogs on a long car ride we can get them to relieve themselves.

To train your dog to understand ‘go potty’, simply say the command repeatedly when you see your dog going to the bathroom, and then offer praise when they are finished. In time, your dog will learn that when you say ‘go potty’, it’s time to get down to business.

Give Your Dog A Spot To Go

Designating an acceptable spot on your walks for your dog to go potty and then training him to go there can also be helpful. Use the ‘go potty’ command or other forms of positive reinforcement to encourage your dog to use this spot.

With time and consistent training, your dog should learn to go in his ‘potty spot’ and, with the help of commands like ‘no’, avoid going on the fire hydrant.

Keep Your Dog Away From Fire Hydrants

If your dog just isn’t getting it, then maybe you’ll want to try avoiding areas with fire hydrants. After all, if you can do it, it’s a very effective solution. When choosing where to walk, try going a block further, crossing the street, or whatever else is necessary to avoid fire hydrants. This can help prevent the temptation for your dog to go potty on them.

Do Female Dogs Pee On Fire Hydrants Too?

The answer is yes, although not with the same frequency or ease as male dogs. If a female dog wants to go on a fire hydrant, she often stakes out her territory by urinating in spots right next to a fire hydrant, like in the grass or gravel, rather than directly onto the pillar itself.

Why Do Dogs Prefer To Urinate On Fire Hydrants?

While some may assume that dogs have a natural affinity towards these bright red beacons, the truth is more complex. It turns out that dogs don’t actually have a clear preference for fire hydrants over other objects, it’s just that fire hydrants are everywhere and so a meme was born.

In fact, if there were no fire hydrants available, our good boys would likely be just as content to mark their territory on a tree, fence post, or large stone!

Summary: Why Do Dogs Pee On Fire Hydrants?

It is clear that dogs pee on fire hydrants for a variety of reasons. From marking their territory to overmarking other dogs, from convenience to learning from others or due to stress – it appears that the behavior has become part of canine culture in many parts of the world. Understanding why your dog pees on fire hydrants can help you figure out how best to address this issue and stop it if necessary.

Overall, it’s important to remember that urinating on fire hydrants is a normal behavior for many dogs. While you may not want your dog to do it, in some cases it might be unavoidable.

That said, with patience and consistency in training, many pet owners can teach their pets how to avoid the temptation of going onto fire hydrants or other inappropriate places when they need to go potty.

With an understanding of why your pup might be doing this and by using positive reinforcement techniques like commands and rewards – you should be successful at helping him (or her!) break this habit!

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