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Territorial marking is an instinctive behavior of dogs in the wild. Dogs mark the territory by urinating in certain spots that they consider to be theirs. They may mark their territory to show their dominance over the area or sexual availability. Let’s take a look at how you can curb the habit in your pet.
To curb this basic instinct in your dog, you need to start with another one of their basic instincts, following pack hierarchy. When a dog is in a pack, only the pack leader marks a territory. The remaining dogs who fall lower in the hierarchy do not do the same. You can curb your dog’s territorial marking tendencies by clearly establishing the leader of the house. You want to use a calm yet authoritative tone to assert yourself as the leader. If you let your dog decide where he sleeps or do as he pleases in and around the house, then, it is evident to him that you are not the pack leader. Reassert yourself as the pack leader, and the territorial marking will naturally stop. One of the best ways to bring this habit to a stop is by catching your dog while he is marking the territory, and obedience training him.
Often, dogs mark the territory when a new person or pet enters the household. It is their way of saying that this is their territory to the stranger. If the new occupant is a pet then they probably know what the act signifies, while if it is a person, they may find it a little unusual. Either way, you can prevent territorial marking in such situations through the right introductions. You want the new occupant and dog to be introduced beforehand, and allow them to bond with each other before they are in each other’s company inside the house.
Dogs may mark the house with their urine to express their sexual availability to other pets. Spaying or neutering can help control this instinct, and the hormonal changes that prompt the same. Of course, spaying or neutering may not always stop dogs from marking their territory, as there are other factors that affect this behavior as well. Re-marking the same territory is one such common behavior in dogs. You want to make sure that you clean the marked territory completely, preferably using an enzyme deodorizer, so all scents are eliminated from the area. Else your pet may find the need to remark the area again, if he/she catches a scent of it.
While you want to curb your dog’s tendency to mark the territory inside the house, you should let him go easy when it’s trees, shrubs or the mailbox outdoors.