David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Get A Leg Up

September 3, 2018

Can't a guy pee in peace?

Researchers in the Journal of Zoology followed dogs around New York, trying to measure the height of their pee marks.  We can only assume that they pulled out their tape measures after the flow was stemmed.  Apparently they chose only male dogs, because "they are more likely to lift their legs when they pee," according to this article in Science.  I did wonder if some male-on-male empathy was involved between researcher and dog, but the lead researcher, from Cornell, is a woman.  Don't know the gender of the other three people whose names are on the paper.

Their postulation is that the littler the dog is, the higher he attempts (maybe gets) his mark. Not sure we needed to research this.  Any dog owner can attest that little dogs have large Napoleon complexes.  The littlest mutt believes it can take on the greatest hound.  And I suppose it is merely a small step between canine male and human male when the research is summarized by "smaller dogs may hoist their legs higher in an attempt to lie about their body size." Does a smaller dog, perhaps named Nigel, set off the security devices in airports?

Probably most disturbing is that the researchers filmed these poor dogs via i-phones while walking behind them.  Does the Anthony Weiner Dog then send the cute chihuahua sext messages and pics?

I know every time I watch my dogs do their business, they look back at me with the most pathetic looks. I used to think that they were ashamed; recently I read that they might be anxious about being in a vulnerable position and were looking to me for protection.  I was fully on-board with that explanation. Now I think they are looking back afraid I am pulling out the yardstick judging them.

And when the researchers describe the challenges of measuring the urine marks, they note that some dogs simply miss their marks. Funny, I never once saw them come and use Grizzly for their experiments.

Of course, research on animals rarely provides definitive conclusions.  The Science article suggests other theories for the higher water marks of these little dogs: perhaps, "they're trying to reach a larger dog's urine spots" (not necessarily a huge variation on the core theme); or, "small dogs are more limber." 

That last one seems like a gross stereotype.  Our Marcus, half-basset hound/half newfoundland, meaning body size of the basset, has not been lovingly called "Stubby" by friends for no reason.  His vertical leap has been measured in milli-inches, and the only time we might call him limber is when we mis-speak about his lumber.

Still, Marcus is quite proud of his leg kick. Here's for you, stuck-up bichon down the road!