How do I stop my dog from marking?

Question:

My 9-month-old Basset is house trained, but every now and then we find a wet spot. I think he is marking. How do I stop this behavior?

dog marking

By Brian Lee, Dog Trainer & Behavioral Counselor

Dogs urinate for multiple reasons:

  • To relieve their bladders (this requires housebreaking)
  • To mark (usually male dogs releasing a small amount of urine by lifting their leg on vertical surfaces)
  • Because they are excited (reuniting with their owner, reacting to high voices, etc.)
  • Because they are afraid (showing subservience)

Marking, in general, is the hardest to resolve. Marking is driven by two main factors – hormones  and insecurity. Make sure your dog is neutered. The testosterone in male dogs triggers the need  to mark (it takes about a month for testosterone to leave the body after neutering). Although  marking is primarily hormone driven, it is also triggered by insecurity. Any change in your dog’s environment can cause insecurity such as a new animal in the house or access to a room that is unfamiliar. If the insecurity is due to a new environment, spend more time in that area until your dog feels comfortable in it. Dogs don’t generally mark where they “live”, so ensuring your pet feels at home in every room will help reduce the tendency to mark. If marking is only happening in one specific spot, make that area inaccessible by blocking it off or using a scat mat to deter your dog from marking. Be aware that your dog can learn to mark by watching other dogs mark. Another reason dogs will feel insecure is being left alone to long (more then five hours) Being left alone longer then accustom or time of day.

My favorite way to address your dog’s insecurity is to be a strong leader. Nothing is more effective in giving your dog a sense of security and peace of mind. Leadership is effective in solving most behavioral problems.

Hope that helps!

Brian Lee

How do I housebreak my dog?

Question:

I have a new baby Chihuahua who is 4 months old. He stays overnight in a crate without going potty. He also stays in a pen at times and does his business there after being outside. I want him to learn outdoor potty training and follow two other dogs out dog doors. Does he have too many options with the pen? Also are the stick rawhide chews too many calories if he gets two a day?

Francesca

 

housebreaking

By Brian Lee, Dog Trainer & Behavioral Counselor

Housebreaking small dogs can be more difficult.  Housebreaking is achieved by tapping into the dog’s dening instincts. The stronger their denning instincts, the more they want to get away from feces and urine, which makes it easier to housebreak.  Small dogs tend to have weaker den instincts.  Housebreaking needs to become a habit and is achieved when there have been no accidents for three months.

You want to set your dog up to win.  

First: Over night, you will want to keep him in a crate next to your bed.  Take him out first thing in the morning.

Second:  When you’re not home, either keep him in the crate or put the pen in front of the doggie door so the dogs can go in and out.

Third:   When home, he must stay in line of sight and taken outside after about two hours.  Most important is confinement.  You must set the dog up to win. Accidents are never your dog’s fault.

Chews, like rawhide or bully sticks, in limited quantities, are usually good.

Every dog deals with chews differently.  As long as there are no loose stools or allergies, you should be fine.

Hope that helps

Brian lee

How can I stop my dog from losing control when greeting people at the door?

Question:

We have a 3 year old Labrador Retriever – she is a wonderful being! She has done really well with her training except for being over the top excited when people come to the house. She races to the door, and just goes wild jumping up and running around our friends feet, etc. I have tried putting her in a sit/stay prior to opening the door but she just loses control once the door opens! I know she is still young – but she weighs 70 lbs and I don’t want anyone to get hurt!

Michelle

dogdoor

 By Brian Lee, Dog Trainer & Behavioral Counselor

The greeting ritual is one of the most common challenges for dog owners.

The most important thing to remember is your dog’s state of mind. When a dog is “out of their head,” nothing gets through.

First:  Make sure your dog is well exercised; so all that extra energy isn’t taken out on your guest.

Second:  You need to desensitize your dog to the front door. Ten times a day, for a couple of weeks, go to the door, open and close it over and over, until your dog is bored with challenging the door.  You can knock; ring the doorbell and talk, as if someone is there.  You will want to desensitize your dog to as many triggers as possible.

MOST IMPORTANT:  Do not look at your dog while doing this.  Look straight over her head. You will probably have to walk through her, in order to back her up.  Finally, when someone comes to the door, most think they need to open it right away. That is rewarding her, when she is out of her head.

Pump the door over and over.  Open it a few inches. Tell your guest to please be patient. If you keep pumping the door, you will see her slowly calm down.  If you follow this same procedure with the next thirty or so visitors, you will see a remarkable improvement.

You can also put your dog on leash, while standing on it, until she calms down.  Or, try putting her in her crate or behind a puppy gate, until she relaxes.

Hope that helps.  Thank you for your question.

Brian Lee