Study Finds That Dogs Really Do Compete in Pissing Contest

04/25/2011

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Dogs that get the highest scent marks and, as a result, the highest status in the canine world are judged by their counterparts on height, leg-lift angle, location and quality of pee. And, it’s not just a guy thing. Female dogs compete, too. Dogs of a higher status pee over or near previous markings of lower-status dogs.

Read more at Discovery News.

 

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Previous research suggested that overmarking, or peeing over pee, was only done by male dogs in response to females, but an extensive study performed by scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater proved otherwise. They conducted two experiments: one led 48 Labrador retrievers through a “urine course” to react to marked wooden stakes, while another recorded 153 urinations and 199 urine sniffings from 87 male and female dogs of different breeds at a Wisconsin dog park.

 

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The scientists found that there was a correlation between the height of a dog’s raised tail during marking and its status -- the higher the tail, the higher the status. And while male dogs overmarked way more, female dogs did it, too.

"Because these are signals that can be investigated from a safe distance, it may be that dogs are able to sort out a lot of their relationships through marks before they ever meet face to face," explained Anneke Lisberg, of the department of biological sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and co-author of the study. "If they can sort out things chemically, it could help them make smarter decisions about whom to approach and how to approach them.”

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Photo Credits: Comstock/Thinkstock | iStockphoto/Thinkstock | Hemera/Thinsktock |

 


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