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Urine marking in dogs: explanations

Urine marking consists in the dog depositing a few drops of urine in different places in order to inform other dogs that he is passing by. It is a vital piece of information that other dogs perceive through their sense of smell and integrate perfectly. Each dog thus claims its need to assert itself and the marking can have other meanings. However, it sometimes happens that the animal abuses urine marking to the point of depositing a few drops of urine in every corner of the house. What does this behavior mean and how can we prevent it from continuing?

What does urine marking in dogs mean?

Dogs do not urinate just to relieve their bladder when it is full. In fact, they always keep a little urine in reserve in order to deposit a few drops here and there to :
  • Leave a message for other dogs.
  • Identify an area that is not dangerous for itself,
  • Cover up another dog's urine mark,
Many owners think that their dog marks its territory. However, urine marking in dogs does not have the same meaning as in cats, who do mark their territory.

The dog can in any case "lift its paw" on any support (object, furniture, tree, fence, bicycle wheel, exterior or interior wall, parquet floor, terrace, etc.), which - in some cases - is totally unbearable.

Urine marking by a shameless dog during an outdoor walk is considered normal. But when it takes place in the house, the marking is abnormal. This may mean that the dog :
  • Has not properly integrated the concept of territory so that boundaries are confused,
  • Does not feel safe,
  • Has a behavioural problem related to low self-esteem,
  • Has not been trained.
It is of course very important to educate your dog so that it does not spend its time marking its territory by urinating three drops every twenty meters... or worse, in the house or apartment. And in these cases, the goal for the animal is not to empty its bladder! It is a question of urinary marking and not an accident.

A poorly trained dog is capable of urinating incessantly in any type of environment, inside or outside. It is therefore necessary to teach him as soon as possible the limits that should not be exceeded. This fundamental principle is as valid for females as for males. The management of urine marking is learned at the same time as cleanliness.

How do you potty train a dog?

Housebreaking should be done early. It consists of getting the dog used to urinating only outside and in specific places. Ideally, the dog should be taught to relieve itself in a gutter or in the same area of the garden so that it does not soil the whole lawn and flower beds.

In this regard, the owner must also impose good manners dictated by the respect of others by systematically picking up his dog's droppings and ensuring that his pet does not urinate under the window or in front of the neighbor's door.

To limit accidents inside the house and so that the dog understands what his owner expects of him, it is very important to respect the following points.
  • Take the dog out at regular times,
  • To forbid him in a firm way to urinate where it is not desirable, and always using the same vocabulary,
  • Anticipate by pulling him by the leash when he starts to sniff a bush, a car tire, etc.,
  • Congratulate him when he has relieved himself in the place authorized by his master in order to encourage him to do it again next time.
You must be attentive to your puppy's attitudes in order to spot the moment when the animal wants to urinate, and take it out without waiting. The master must therefore organize himself to be very available when he welcomes a new companion at home. But with a little diligence and regularity, the good habits should be acquired quite quickly. Once the dog has learned the basics, he will know how to ask for a walk by adopting an explicit behavior so that his owner understands that it is time to go out.

By adopting these educational principles, the dog will be perfectly clean and will no longer abuse urine marking.

Unwanted urine marking in dogs: education problem or disease?

It should be noted that an adult dog that has not been properly trained will require much more presence and patience from its owner to achieve a good result, i.e. to stop abusing urine marking everywhere. When these manias are linked to an education problem, they are certainly unpleasant, but they do not affect the animal's health.

However, be careful not to blame everything on bad training, because untimely urine marking in a dog, especially inside the house, can hide a pathology. It is therefore advisable to consult a veterinarian as soon as possible so that a health check-up can be carried out, especially if you notice that your dog has been lifting his paw for some time now, even though this was not his habit. This attitude can for example be due to :
  • A bladder infection,
  • A kidney problem,
  • A hormonal dysfunction,
  • Urinary incontinence.
In some cases, the veterinarian may advise sterilization for a female dog and castration for a male dog, which has the effect of inhibiting the impact of sex hormones on the animal's behavior. However, to obtain good results, the dog must be sterilized before the age of 12 months. Spaying or neutering is not going to change much in an older animal with ingrained bad habits.