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Urine Marking – What Is It?

Whether you’re adopting a puppy or bringing home an older dog, one of the first things you must do is teach them proper potty habits. No pet owner wants to deal with a constant mess inside their home. You can effectively prevent that problem by teaching your dog when and where they can heed nature’s call.

Dogs take to potty training naturally. That’s why many pet owners are caught off guard by urine marking.

So, what is the behavior known as urine marking anyway? Let’s take this opportunity to understand it better so you can gain valuable insight into your pet’s behavior.

Manifestation of Natural Dog Behavior

To understand why urine marking occurs, we must first take a moment to discuss natural dog behavior. More specifically, we need to focus on the territorial displays.

Being territorial comes naturally to our canine companions. According to ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, dogs are territorial for survival purposes. They are not just guarding their territory. Dogs become territorial because they want to protect each other, their food, and any other objects they consider valuable.

Territorial behavior has been a defining trait of dogs for centuries. It shouldn’t come as a surprise if your pet also exhibits that behavior. Even if your pet didn’t display that behavior as a puppy, there’s still a chance they could develop it when they are older.

Normal potty training won’t prevent urine marking in dogs. The issue that potty training prevents isn’t necessarily related to urine marking. You must separately tackle the issue of urine marking when it pops up.

Urine Marking Is a Form of Communication

Urine marking is more than a manifestation of a dog’s territorial instincts. There’s a reason why your pet is leaving their urine behind for other dogs to find.

The urine your dog releases relays important information about their current condition. It contains information about their age, reproductive status, and potential health issues. A dog can quickly pick up all those essential bits of information about your pet after one sniff.

Your pet shares that information so other dogs can tell that someone has already claimed that territory. They shouldn’t bother exploring that territory further unless they want trouble.

In some cases, dogs will also use their urine to attract potential mates. Another dog may sense your pet’s urine and develop an interest in mating based on the information they gathered.

Strange as it may seem, urine is a powerful tool of communication in the canine world. It’s a tool your pet may also utilize eventually.

Urine Marking Can Start at an Early Age

There is no timetable for urine marking. Both adult dogs and puppies are known to engage in that aforementioned behavior.

Some dogs may start marking as soon as they reach three months of age. Your puppy may be displaying that behavior without you realizing it due to how closely it resembles accidental urination. It’s important to create a distinction between the two so you can administer the necessary behavioral fix.

Although puppies are also known for marking their territory with urine, this behavior usually doesn’t emerge until they become sexually mature.

Natural to Both Male and Female Dogs

Territorial behavior is not exclusive to male dogs. You’ll find that both male and female dogs will mark their territories using urine. However, male dogs are still more likely to mark relative to their female counterparts.

Hormonal cycles can also help explain why the dogs in your household are marking.

A male dog is more likely to leave their mark if they sense that a female dog nearby is going through her heat cycle. Urine marking also becomes more common in female dogs who are in heat.

If it seems like your pet is only marking at specific points throughout the year, they are probably basing their behavior on other dogs in the neighborhood.

Urine marking can be an annoying display of canine behavior, but dogs don’t engage in it on a whim. Hopefully, the information in this article has helped you understand your dog’s marking habits better. You may also have the information you need to tackle that issue more effectively.

Have more questions about urine marking? Schedule a complimentary call with our dog trainer Cathy today.