Owners with male puppies are often all too familiar with the casual cocking of a leg at every lamppost along your walking route. Territory marking behaviour is most common amongst male puppies which have progressed through adolescence.
Puppy owners are often able to accept that territory marking is part of their puppy’s behaviour but sometimes struggle to be understanding when this behaviour occurs within their homes. This article will discuss the cause of this behaviour and explore ways to prevent it from occurring in your house.
What is Territory Marking?
Territory marking is one of the many non-verbal behaviours that puppies can use to interact with other animals. Many animals use urine, and even faeces, to define their territory. Territory marking makes other animals aware of your puppy’s presence. This is especially true for animals from the same species. Territory marking also communicates the reproductive status of the animal.
Is There Anything I Need to Know?
The first thing to note is that sometimes it’s not easy to recognise when your puppy has begun to form a habit of spraying. They can often do it at times when you are distracted or out of the home. If you have begun to notice the smell of urine around your home or have stepped in strange puddles, your puppy may be attempting to mark their territory.
Before you attempt to stop any territory marking behaviour, its important to ensure that your puppy is toilet trained. What may seem like territory marking behaviour may actually be the sign of a weak bladder. For more information on toilet training, visit our article om toilet training. Provide your puppy with plenty of opportunities to use the bathroom and create a solid bathroom routine.
How Do I Stop My Puppy from Peeing in My Home?
Once you have ruled out toilet training as an issue, you can be sure that your puppy is deliberately marking their territory and target this behaviour. Many puppy owners find that by desexing their puppies, they can eliminate territory marking early on. Unfortunately, this strategy is generally not effective after the puppy has established a habit of spraying; it works best when performed early.
If your puppy has already formed a habit of marking their territory, there are some other strategies you can employ. Firstly, territory marking behaviour will frequently occur in the exact same area. As a result, you can often reduce spraying behaviour by immediately cleaning soiled areas with a cleaner designed to remove urine odour. In addition, you can deter your puppy by making these areas inaccessible or unattractive for your puppy. As a last resort, you can feed your puppy in the areas where they repeatedly spray in order to change their association with these areas.
If you have other pets in the home, especially male pets, your puppy may be marking their territory as part of a conflict with these animals. This conflict may even extend to animals that your puppy can see through windows or fences. Try to eliminate your puppies ability to see other dogs where you can. If you believe your puppy is spraying as a result of other animals, visit our guide on socialisation in order to make your pets more friendly and less conflicted. Remember that puppies mark their territory in order to warn off male competition.
When trying to reduce territory marking behaviour, the most important thing to do is be consistent. Consistently feed your puppy in the same location and at the same time; have them visit the bathroom at the same time, and consistently remove the temptation to spray. Remember that territory marking is a habit that you will have to actively break.