What's Up With Dogs Marking Their Territory?
It's something we've all inevitably had to deal with at some point with our dogs, especially male dogs: marking territory. And no, I'm not just talking about peeing a million and one times on a walk, but marking indoors as well. Making territory is done by urinating a small amount on vertical surfaces to literally "mark their territory". There's a few reasons why some dogs are more keen to this than others:
1. They are intact. Intact dogs, both male, and female, are highly more likely to mark their territory than altered dogs. When it comes to females, they are more likely to mark right before and during their "heat".
2. A new dog is visiting. When a new dog comes into your home, your dog might feel compelled to let them know "This is MY house!".
3. They smell another dog's mark. While out for a walk, it might be your dog's goal to essentially cover up every other mark they smell with their own.
4. They're anxious. There's not more to that one. New things their environment might trigger this and you might find them peeing on non-vertical surfaces and just marking new objects. You've probably experienced this with your luggage, a new couch or really anything! There's nothing worse than trying to get that smell out of couches!
So what to do about it?
1. Clean it up. If indoors, clean marked areas extremely thoroughly to try and get rid of the scent. Not just for your sake, but so your dog isn't enticed to mark that area again OR have another dog mark there. This should be done with a cleaner meant for cleaning urine, not just soap and water.
2. Don't give them a target. Put away objects they are most likely to mark on or keep them out of reach. Put that new luggage in the closet!
3. Crate train your dog if they are marking indoors when you are not home. They won't mark inside their crate. You know that term "don't sh*t where you sleep"? Well, that applies here, too.
4. Reward them. If you're able to deter them from marking inside and able to get them outside in time for them to do business, reward them with a treat or toy. Metro Balls® make great rewards!
5. Consult a behaviorist. They can work with you and your dog to find a trigger and deter their urge to mark everything.