Why “Marking” on a Walk is Not Allowed at My House
Thanks to Agility Fusion for this funny photo!
I am sure some of you are gasping in horror right now, but before you have a nervous breakdown let me explain.
I have two boy dogs and because my dogs are athletes and play in protection and agility and other sports I allow them to remain intact longer than I suggest for others. I have read studies and I agree that their bodies need the added testosterone to develop strong bones.
So they have more of a propensity to want to mark their territory, both outside the house and inside the house.
Now, of course I don’t allow them to mark inside the house and I think my 2 year old boy only tried it twice before he realized there was nothing in that for him.
He now prances around outside in his yard and marks to his heart is content.
I have no problem with him marking his yard. Even if he was neutered I would expect this behavior. Even dogs who are neutered early often lift their legs to pee. Very few spend a lifetime squatting.
But dog who remain intact longer have more of a need to spread their testosterone and mark or sign their names to their things.
However, I do not want my house to become one of those houses that you want to vomit a little in your mouth when you go in. You know the pet home, where there is urine all over the floors and the walls, and it smells like cat or dog or both.
Even though I have dogs and I am a dog trainer and I make my living working with animals… I like a clean and sweet smelling house… now don’t get me wrong… I wouldn’t eat off my floors but I do my best to keep things clean.
Cleanliness is next to godliness, I was taught when I was young!
So as odd or horrific as it sounds, I don’t allow my dog to mark all over when I take him for a walk or for a run.
Let me say first that he goes outside to relieve himself. I would never deny him the ability to drain his bladder when he needs to go potty, but anyone who has had a male dog knows the difference between draining his bladder and leaving one drop of urine every 2 feet.
I number one don’t want to be drug around from tree to tree or bush to bush. I don’t want him smelling and urinating everywhere we go. I want him to learn to control his urges.
This way when he is home and he has a desire to pee in his house, or when we are visiting family and he would really like to pee on their furniture he has already learned some impulse control.
Imagine if you allow your dog to urinate everywhere he wants, he pulls you from tree to tree, he occasionally urinates in your home and then you take him to your parent’s house, or your boss’ house how can you expect him to control his urges at that moment?
He probably can’t because he has never learned control of that part of his body and behavior.
So when we are on a walk or before we go I make sure he goes out and goes potty before we get underway.
And, if he has had a lot of water during our walk or we are gone for a long period of time I tell him when he can go to a tree and I have put his potty command on cue.
This way I can still allow him to go potty when we are on vacation or visiting somewhere, but he gets use to not pulling me and signing his name to every spot he wants.
I want to have enjoyable walks and runs and I don’t want to be pulled.
I also want him to learn some impulse control so I know I can take him to new places and I don’t have to worry that he is going to cock his leg in an instant and embarrass me and stain someone’s things.
Putting it on command and teaching your dog impulse control is really the only way to go if you think about it!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.