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Dog Training/Shih TZU marking


My shih tzu is 5 years old, male, neutered. I have 4 other dogs.
(a small female terrier) Two big dogs (one male, one female). My large female dog is the Alpha.  
Murphy gets along with all of them however I believe there is a "i'm the man of the house thing with the big male, (two years old). Murphy marks all over the house up against baseboards. I have tile floors so easy to detect. I clean with a very good odor nuetralizer. I have worked on behaviors such as pack heirarchy...feeding the large male last, making him leave the room when he postures over MUrphy. He is trying to play but also tyring to send a message of "im bigger than you.Ha ha. "

Dont know what else to do. Please advise!!

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but urine marking, as other urination, is a house training issue.  You have been ineffective in training him because you are trying to use pack theory, which has been largely discounted by science.  Dogs do have relationships that can be dominant or subordinate in their quest for various resources, but a linear hierarchy is not what you are seeing: (
If this were my dog, I would simply attempt to retrain him as if he were a puppy.  What that means is that he is allowed no freedom in the house unless you are directly supervising, he's taken outside more often than you think he needs to go, is copiously rewarded (food treat, such as freeze dried liver) for eliminating outdoors, and if he doesn't eliminate he goes back into confinement for a little while and taken out to try again.  No punishment for 'accidents' as there should be none if you are adequately supervising things - Dr. Ian Dunbar's "errorless house training" is a good guide for this.  It's inconvenient, but it only takes about a month to complete this training if you are religious about doing it.  You are on the right track about using an enzymatic cleaner, but the goal should be prevention, so that you don't have any accidents to use it on:-)
If he was previously house trained, and you are seeing this as a new behavior, then a vet visit is in order.

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Anne Springer, B.A., Dip., CTDI, CLWI, CAPCT, VA


I'm happy to answer questions on behavior and training. I prefer a training philosophy much like your physician might adopt when treating patients - first, do no harm. Dogs are generally best trained using humane methods that make sense to them and put you in control, not necessarily by physical means, but by controlling the dog's access to resources, such as food, toys, access to the outdoors, etc. I want your dog to behave, but also to trust you and rely on you for guidance.


Professional trainer, owner of Paws for Praise, in Danvers, MA. We use positive training and behavior modification techniques, and are committed to having the dogs that come through our center be both as well trained and behaviorally healthy as we can help their humans make them.

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