Interestingly, among dogs, urine marking isn’t only a behavior meant to signal territory; rather, it can be used to signal various intents as a form of canine communication where dogs can learn details about each other. Whether the victim of urine marking is the fire hydrant, a lamp post or your expensive pair of shoes, it’s quite clear that canines have a strong, instinctive desire to make their point and leave their “signature.”
The Common Reasons
Doggy Social Media
Trespassers will be Prosecuted
Times of Stress
We may Tweet or use Facebook to make a statement to share with others, whereas our dogs will urine mark. If your dog likes to mark on walks and other areas frequented by dogs, most likely he is leaving his own little message. “Fido was here,” “Just a young, innocent puppy who emptied his bladder” or “Female in heat looking for a partner” can be just a few message left by other dogs. These messages are meant to be sniffed by the receiver, so don’t be surprised why dogs are so intent in reading the “headlines” on walks and leaving their own little “Tweet” too!
You may use a fence to delimitate your property and bolted doors to keep invaders out of your home, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise when Oliver starts marking his turf to make his own territorial statement. This behavior is quite instinctive and is a reminiscent of the ancient times when canines lived in a pack and used urine to mark a well-delineated area where they kept their resources, important commodities meant to sustain the pack such as food, shelter, mates and progeny. Because other packs respected these marked areas, this prevented unnecessary disputes over territory which are dangerous and energy consuming.
In some cases, stressed dogs may urine mark when they feel fearful, anxious or stressed. If your dog marks on your guest’s luggage, most likely your dog is having a hard time accepting this person in the home and marks to cover up that foreign, intimidating smell. Dogs who aren’t much open to dealing with novelties may also urine mark anything new brought into the home.
Debunking 5 Common Myths About Marking
Only Male Dogs Mark
Only Intact Dogs Mark
Dogs Only Mark With Urine
Neutering Breaks the Habit
Any Product will Work
Urine marking is often associated with male dogs, but surprisingly female dogs mark too. A female dog may also lift the leg to mark or may quickly squat down. Some may even do a “head stand” to mark certain high areas.
While intact males and unspayed females may urine mark to communicate their sexual availability, there are countless spayed and neutered dogs that urine mark.
Many people assume dogs mark only with urine, but many use feces as well too. If your dog tends to strategically defecate right in front of a home where many dogs live, he may be leaving a little message for them to investigate. Many dogs will also scratch the dirt afterward, leaving additional visual signs that are hard to ignore.
Many dog owners assume that once the dog is neutered, urine marking will magically disappear. Guaranteed. Truth is, nobody can guarantee this. While it makes sense that neutering may remove hormonally-induced behaviors such as marking, roaming or fighting with other intact male dogs, it cannot be ignored the fact that marking becomes often a habit. According to Nicholas Dodman, marking should be reduced in 60 percent of dogs after neutering.
If your dog marks indoors, you may grab any average carpet cleaner to clean up the area. This is a big mistake. If you do not remove the odor completely, your dog will feel compelled to mark the same area over and over as it smells like urine. Using ammonia-based products make the problem worse, as ammonia smells like urine. Instead, you want to invest in a cleaning product with enzymes which will eat the odor away and neutralize it.
Reducing Urine Marking
Urine marking is often considered a natural behavior many dog owners learn to live with. Problems start when dogs start marking inside and owners get frustrated and plan to relinquish their dogs. Getting mad and frustrated can make problems worse, especially if the dog is marking out of stress. Once the dog associates urine marking with punishment from you, he’ll like urine mark out of your sight which makes it harder to control. It’s much better to catch your dog in the act and redirect him to another activity such as a romp outside where you can praise him lavishly for urinating outside.
And don’t forget to always make sure that urine marking is not stemming from a medical problem. If your dog is urinating out of stress, make necessary changes to help him cope better with stress and consult with a behavior professional.