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Question
Posted by: Annnie | 2011/09/21

Marking

I got a dog from the local animal welfare.. I guess he was about a year old when I got him. I immediatly had him sterilized. He is totally house trained but sometimes marks on furniture or blankets. When we receive guests that sleep over at our house he will go and mark on top of their bed! He know exactly what he is doing and that it is wrong. I''ve tried ''NO''!!, cirtonella spray etc.
What can I do to stop this?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDog Behaviour Expert

Hi Annie, it sounds like the dog is engaging in 'marking' behaviour and he is laying his claim. This appears to be a sign of insecurity and is not at all unusual in rescue dogs.

What I would do is firstly clean any areas that have been marked firstly with a 1/3 mixture of white vinegar to 3/4 water and clean throughly, then put the citronella on them.

Secondly, i would try to go the management route. We had a Fox Terrier/JR rescue years ago that did the same thing no matter how much training was done, so I know how you feel! Eventually I relied mostly on management and when my sons brought friends home instead of leaving school bags on the floor in the entrance (his favourite!), they put them on the table and if we had guests staying, we closed the doors. He could be smelling the scent of another dog, human, cat etc on the bedding and marking it with his own scent accordingly, so keep all bedroom closed even when there are no guests.

Also bring in House Rules to make the dog feel more secure. This consists of 'acting/thinking dog' and you do the following:-
1. Ignore dog when arriving home. When he has given up and walked away, call him back after about 30 seconds, ask for a 'sit', give a treat and greet as normal.
2. Ignore all demanding behaviour. Attention is given only on your terms.
3. Work to earn - start taking a portion of the dogs daily allowance and get him to 'work' for his living by asking for a sit, down etc and then giving food.
4. Ensure dogs getting enough walks and mental stimulation by wal of varied chew toys etc.

The above may seem a bit strange to a human, but we are bringing in rules that a dog understands. When we do this, the dog feels more secure and that we are taking our rightful place as pack leaders and stress/marking should decrease.

If he is is the house when visitors are there, watch him like a hawk and call in an excited voice if you see him sniffing around and run outside and when he performs, praise and offer a treat. What wont work is paying attention to the behaviour. Attention to a dog is attention whether negative or positive, so rather go the prevention and management route. You can even try having him on lead in this situation. Normally once the habit is broken it will only reoccur in times of stress.

You can also try house training right from the beginning again, rewarding him each and every time he performs successfully outside. Good luck, Scotty

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Our users say:
Posted by: Dog Behaviour Expert | 2011/09/22

Hi Annie, it sounds like the dog is engaging in 'marking' behaviour and he is laying his claim. This appears to be a sign of insecurity and is not at all unusual in rescue dogs.

What I would do is firstly clean any areas that have been marked firstly with a 1/3 mixture of white vinegar to 3/4 water and clean throughly, then put the citronella on them.

Secondly, i would try to go the management route. We had a Fox Terrier/JR rescue years ago that did the same thing no matter how much training was done, so I know how you feel! Eventually I relied mostly on management and when my sons brought friends home instead of leaving school bags on the floor in the entrance (his favourite!), they put them on the table and if we had guests staying, we closed the doors. He could be smelling the scent of another dog, human, cat etc on the bedding and marking it with his own scent accordingly, so keep all bedroom closed even when there are no guests.

Also bring in House Rules to make the dog feel more secure. This consists of 'acting/thinking dog' and you do the following:-
1. Ignore dog when arriving home. When he has given up and walked away, call him back after about 30 seconds, ask for a 'sit', give a treat and greet as normal.
2. Ignore all demanding behaviour. Attention is given only on your terms.
3. Work to earn - start taking a portion of the dogs daily allowance and get him to 'work' for his living by asking for a sit, down etc and then giving food.
4. Ensure dogs getting enough walks and mental stimulation by wal of varied chew toys etc.

The above may seem a bit strange to a human, but we are bringing in rules that a dog understands. When we do this, the dog feels more secure and that we are taking our rightful place as pack leaders and stress/marking should decrease.

If he is is the house when visitors are there, watch him like a hawk and call in an excited voice if you see him sniffing around and run outside and when he performs, praise and offer a treat. What wont work is paying attention to the behaviour. Attention to a dog is attention whether negative or positive, so rather go the prevention and management route. You can even try having him on lead in this situation. Normally once the habit is broken it will only reoccur in times of stress.

You can also try house training right from the beginning again, rewarding him each and every time he performs successfully outside. Good luck, Scotty

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