Why Do Dogs Pee on Tires?

Dogs, we all love them. They are smart, cute, and playful. They love to make us happy, and they love us unconditionally. However, they are a creature of habit.

Yes, they can be taught and trained, but they do certain things that cannot be explained. We like to call this the “Dog Logic.” It’s very different from human logic because there’s no rhyme or reason to it.

You are out walking with your Labrador Retriever when you see a new car parked in front of your neighbor’s house. Randy, your neighbor had been talking last week about buying a BMW.

You are not an expert in cars, but this one looks quite expensive. Your eyes are busy cataloging the car’s shine, color, the high-tech stereo system, leather seats, and the sunroof one feature that you had always dreamed about.

While you are focused on all the beauty and technology of the car, your dog is running circles around the vehicle and sniffing the tires. He presses his nose into a tire and keeps doing the same thing with every tire over and over again.

Wait, hold up suddenly your mind registers what your dog is doing, and as you try to stop him, he raises his leg and pees all over the tire. Oh, the horror and utter humiliation. From the corner of your eye, you see Randy coming out of the house and make a dash for your door, dragging your dog by the leash.

Your Labrador is fully trained. He obeys your commands and acts as a good dog in the park; he doesn’t even chase after cats. So, why did he do this? You can only pray that Randy didn’t see you when you were running away from the crime scene.

We are pretty sure that you can relate to this situation. Here’s some news that will amaze you – “Why do dogs pee on tires?” has been the main topic of numerous studies.

We are not joking. Researchers and dog lovers were convinced that there was some logic behind this urination pattern, and hence, several studies were conducted to find out why canines display this behavior.

So, are you ready for some mind-blowing fact?

Why Do Dogs Pee on Car or Truck Tires?

When you were in college, and you liked a boy or a girl, how did you make sure that the other students knew this person was with you? You staked a claim! Holding hands, an arm around the shoulder, sitting together in the cafeteria, doing an activity together, all these behaviors showed that the girl or boy you were with was your partner.

Now take this logic and apply it to a dog.

A dog starts to pee on a car tire when it reaches sexual maturity. You might not face this problem if your dog is neutered.

Before we answer the main question, let’s have a look at what sexual maturity has to do with your dog peeing on a car tire.

Sexual Maturity in a Dog

Sudden hormonal changes trigger sexual maturity (puberty) in a dog. This can lead to behavioral and physical changes, some of which are hard to explain. Mostly, puppies hit puberty between the months of 7 and 10. However, some dogs can hit puberty between the months of 4 and 20. The puberty age differs from dog to dog, and it is better to find out the exact age from a vet.

Female Pup

Female dogs have two cycles in a year, but some dogs only go through one cycle a year. The female enters her first heat season in the 6th month or the 18th month. Here are some signs that will tell you whether your female dog is in heat:

  • Vulva (external genitalia) swelling
  • Frequent cleaning or licking of the vulva
  • Increased urination frequency
  • Red (possibly blood) discharge sticking around the vulva (this discharge will continue for 28 days and will change color during the heat months from bloody bright red to light watery red and then to nearly colorless)
  • Behavior Changes: Jumpiness, anxiety, being unusually playful with dogs, being insecure and moody
  • Excessive coat shedding 4 weeks before the heat period

If you spot any of these signs, then do not take your dog out. You might turn your back for a second, and the next thing you know, a male dog is mounting your female dog. Even if the male dog in question has been neutered, your female dog will act differently around it. You don’t want to be a part of this embarrassment palooza!

Male Pup

Male dogs also display objectionable behavior. They are worse than female dogs! Remember the episode “9 Days” from season 3 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine? Peralta and Captain Holt are quarantined because they have Mumps, and Charles is sad over the death of his dog. Charles fondly tells everyone how his dog liked to hump everything in sight, from people to objects. Even the dog’s funeral picture shows him humping Charles’s leg. That was indeed a good episode, albeit, one that grossed us out.

Our point is that don’t be Charles and let your dog hump away at anything. If you see your dog humping an object or the leg of a chair, let him know this is unacceptable behavior. You can distract him by giving him a bone or a toy. Maybe, try some obedience tricks and see how that goes.

If your dog continues to do this, take him to a vet and get him neutered. Then, admit him to doggy training classes so that he can get rid of the habit. Another sign that your male dog might be reaching maturity is copious discharge from the penis.

Female dogs are more submissive when they are in heat. They wait for a male dog to mount them. On the other hand, male dogs play the long con. When they want to signal that they are ready to mate, they mark their territory, and this is the answer to your question!

Male dogs pee on car tires because they want to mark their territory and tell other dogs that they were here!

Picture this – you are in the park, playing fetch with your dog when your eye falls on another dog that is peeing on a car tire, with its legs raised. You aimlessly throw the Frisbee long this time and think to yourself, “My dog doesn’t pee that way, though he sure loves tires.”

First of all – dogs don’t love tires! They love peeing on it. As for the way your canine pees, it differs from dog to dog. There are numerous ways of elimination patterns that dogs display. The position they maintain depends on a specific context.

According to a study by Joseph J. Anisko and Randall H. Sprague, there are 12 different postures that dogs assume when they are eliminating. In their paper, Elimination Patterns in the Laboratory Beagle,” both researchers discovered that female dogs, despite their pattern of elimination, do so to relieve themselves. On the other hand, male dogs tend to eliminate according to their height and to mark their scent.

The 12 elimination patters they discovered include:

  1. Raise
  2. Stand
  3. Lean
  4. Squat
  5. Lean-raise
  6. Elevate
  7. Flex
  8. Flex-raise
  9. Squat-raise
  10. Handstand
  11. Arch
  12. Arch-raise

Scent Marking

The peeing decision of your dog is somewhat similar to its pooping decision (a topic we will discuss next time). When the dog is peeing, it is leaving its mark behind. This is what we call “scent marking.”

Let’s take us, for example. We use a particular perfume because we want to entice someone. The next time that person comes across that smell, he or she will think about you. It’s one of the five senses that make a strong emotional connection.

Dogs, on the other hand, deposit their scent via feces and urine. This scent allows other dogs to gain a ton of information. For example, when a male dog pees on a car tire, he is merely marking his territory. This lets the other dogs know that the spot is taken, and they better not mess with the owner.

Female dogs pee on car tires because they want to attract male dogs. When a male dog smells this pee, they immediately know how many dogs have peed on the spot, and if there’s a bitch in heat nearby.

Yes, it all seems a little silly, but if you think about it, our caveman or wonder woman-like behavior is not that different. We just don’t beat our chest and say “my woman” or act all King-Kong like.

This behavior is not something that they learn by looking at other dogs. It is ingrained in their doggy brain because the behavior has been passed down from their ancestors. The age-old instincts, even then, were all about marking one’s territory. The difference is – human beings grew out of this behavior, but animals didn’t.

The Fascination with Vertical Objects

There’s a logic behind why dogs like to pee on objects that are vertical like telephone poles, hydrants, car tires, and tree trunks. The author of Canine Behavior: Insights and Answers Bonnie V. Beaver, says that dogs aim their pee 97.6% of the time on vertical objects because they are placed at an acceptable level. 

Let’s take a Labrador, for example. The dog is big and reaches a certain height. The dogs in your neighboring area are tall, too, and your dog likes to play with these dogs. Your Labrador will choose a vertical object because when another dog comes across this territory, the scent of the pee will be at nose level. It’s called the “primary position” because it is easy to sniff.

Longer Expiration Dates

For some reason, when a dog urinates on a vertical object, the smell tends to stay longer. Yes, it is weird, but it is true. You are probably wondering, “why don’t they pee on horizontal objects?”

The author of “Know your Dog,” Bruce Fogle, explains that dogs like to pee on tires because of their height and the fact that it retains the smell. Hence, they prefer raising one leg, which is the most common peeing posture rather than squatting down. 

How to Stop Your Dog from Peeing on a Car Tire?

If your dog likes to pee only on your car tire, then we wouldn’t tell you to worry about it much. However, if he wishes to go around and do his business on every car tire he sees, then you have a problem at your hands, my friend. It can get embarrassing when passersby look at you in disdain and think that you are a terrible dog owner.

A house-trained dog knows that he is not allowed to pee indoors. The real challenge is to train him on which outdoor spots are acceptable for peeing. Following are a few tips that will stop your dog from peeing on a car tire:

Use Stain Remover

The smell of urine is what attracts your dog to the same place again and again. To discourage your dog from peeing on the care tire, immediately douse the tire with a stain remover. This will neutralize the smell, and your dog will look for another spot. If you do it enough times, your dog will eventually stop peeing on the tire.

Use Positive Reinforcement

There are plenty of tricks that you can try to tell your dog he is doing something bad. Dogs can understand the tenor of your voice. So, if you make your tone a little harsh and reprimand the dog, he will know that what he is doing is bad. Be consistent with this trick, or it will lose its effect.

Give Him a Different Treat

Is there something that your dog loves to eat, but you don’t give it to him often because it is not healthy? This is what we call “high value treats.” If your dog listens to you and stops peeing on the car tire, then immediately praise him and give him this treat. This way, he will learn to make you happy.

Divert Its Attention

When you are walking outside and pass by a car, divert your dog’s attention by using a treat or taking a ball and throwing it long. Try playful tricks, so he doesn’t get the urge to pee on the tire.

Use Commands

Train your dog to understand commands like “no tire” or “leave it.” Once your dog has associated these commands with negative behavior, he will immediately back away from a tire.

Treats and commands come in handy for positive reinforcement that can teach your dog specific behaviors. The moment you feel that your dog is heading towards a tire to do his business, show him the treat and say your command. If your dog has been professionally trained, he will easily understand your commands.

A Smorgasbord of Nasty Smells

You now know why dogs love peeing on tires – because of its height, and they like marking their territory. This is not the primary factor of attraction, though!

In Supernatural, when Dean turns into a dog, he suddenly gets the urge to sniff butts. This is because dogs love smelly things, and tires happen to be one of them.

The tires of a car rollover EVERYTHING, from dead mice to gutter water, rotten food, animal feces, and whatnot, and this is what makes it’s so desirable. Since vertical objects tend to hold a nasty smell for a more extended period, they prefer a tire over other things.

So, to conclude – why do dogs pee on tires? Because:

  • They want to mark their territory
  • Attract bitches in heat and vice versa
  • They are vertical
  • They have a nasty smell.

Dogs pee on car or truck tires for a variety of reasons. They  have their reasons to do so which are explained above. No matter how strange that reasons might be to humans, they are valid reasons for a dog.

Additionally, you can train your dog to stop peeing on car tires. Proper training includes pee and potting training as well. Keep an eye on your dog so that it may not pee on the tires of your car or your neighbor’s brand new car.