Dog Training/Marking

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Question
My dog is a not quite 3 year old neutered lab/bully mix. He's well behaved and has taken to his obedience training very well. Sometimes better than his human.

I've noticed he's started marking at inappropriate times. Both times was in Petsmart. Yesterday I took him to get his nails ground and noticed that he peed on the wall. During our last training class, he peed on a blanket for sale.

This is out of character for him. And I'm not sure how to stop it because I don't recognize the signs he's about to mark something. I'm not watching him all the time - like yesterday I was talking to the lady at PS grooming when he did it.

Any tips on stopping this? He doesn't SEEM to be a territorial dog. He's well socialized. And he responds well to my corrections. What should I be looking out for? We're about to move from a rural area to an urban area so I'm a little concerned that he's developing this kind of behavior at the wrong time.

Thanks for your time and expertise.

Answer
Hi Ryan!

Marking is normal behavior even for neutered, housetrained dogs when there's something super tempting to spritz! This is why our male dogs stop at every light post, bush, and trash can while on a walk. Someone else has peed there or otherwise left their scent and dogs have a hard time resisting the urge to "overwrite" that scent with their own. Petsmart certainly counts as tempting! Dogs have peed on the curtains in my office, the chairs, the sale displays. It just smells like dog to them, even after cleaning and disinfecting.

Make sure your pup has emptied his tanks before class and keep him on a short leash when you are chatting with someone else to limit his ability to wander to the end of his leash and lift his leg on something.

Other possible scenarios: he's nervous (nail grinding is often stressful) or over stimulated. This is especially likely if these classes and nail appointments are new to him and he isn't used to that sort of activity/setting. If he was neutered recently, the testosterone may not be completely out of his system and he's marking for biological reasons. He could also have a UTI or bladder infection and the need to go comes on urgently and at inopportune times.

Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any questions!

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Sarah Maki

Expertise

I'm happy to help with all obedience and training related questions. Although I work as a trainer solving behavioral issues, I do not feel comfortable providing advice or suggestions for aggression, resource guarding, phobias or other behavioral problems without evaluating a dog in person, those are areas where I believe a personal consultation is necessary.

Experience

I have been training dogs professionally since 2008. In 2009 I graduated with honors from Animal Behavior College and have also completed their Shelter Dog Program. I teach group classes and conduct in-home training sessions.

Education/Credentials
I am an ABCD-T (Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer) and am working towards my CPDT.

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