Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Long walks with male dogs: Why do they need to mark everything?

Liam the pug likes to mark everything when he walks
My husband and I were out of town for the weekend, and Liam spent a few days in the local dog daycare/kennel. He was (obviously) not treated to our daily walks around the neighborhood during this time.

Apparently, he is very displeased with this development and has become concerned that someone has taken over his route while he was away.

Why do I know this?

Because our morning and afternoon walks have stretched to epic lengths. He pulls out front on the leash so he can stop and sniff every flower and blade of grass and then douse the area with pee to claim it as his own. He was so determined to hit everything yesterday that he actually held urine back on our walk, and had to finish the job in our front lawn.

Normally, I try to be a fairly laid-back owner, especially when I can determine the cause of a new behavior and I know it will pass with time. But I do find this new development a little troubling, as I am worried that outdoor marking will soon become indoor marking.

The best way to prevent this behavior, from what I can tell from Dr. Google, is to encourage Liam to urinate in our yard before we even head out on a walk, and then to prohibit him from marking with a cheerful "Come on, boy!" when he tries to stop. I'm not at all certain that this will work, but I'm willing to give it a whirl.

If you are dealing with indoor marking behavior, this article from the Humane Society of the United States is quite helpful. If you have multiple dogs and have trouble determining who is doing the marking, or you have small dogs that leave tiny spots that are hard to find, these belly bands I've linked to on the left are amazing. They leave you with a tell-tale spot you can look for, and they're comfortable for dogs to wear. I have friends who swear by them.

Good luck!