Odie Sanchez is a graffiti artist, he tags all over our neighbourhood. I don’t even like to walk with him in public because he stops almost every five meteres to leave a small ‘Odie was here’ calling card.
I’m talking of course about PEE.
Odie has always been a leg cocker and I put it down to him being desexed later in life because Hans, bless him, pops a squat when he pees and only goes when he absolutely needs to.
Odie is a also a sneaky marker in our house – he will raise a leg to anything out of the ordinary lying on the floor, bath mats and the side of the coffee table. (Our rug is ruined and now the go to pee spot for any foster animal or visiting dog that frequents my house).
When we visit family Hans will run and greet everyone one tail wagging tongue licking – Odie on the other hand will secure the perimeter and ensure his presence is made aware before entering the house and commandeering the highest peak of the couch cushions.
Urine marking is a normal form of communication among dogs. Dogs are drawn to urine marks left by other dogs and are apparently able to get information by sniffing the urine, such as the identity, the sex and the reproductive status (whether a dog is neutered or desexed) of the marker. Males are more likely than females to urine mark, and reproductively intact males are more likely to mark than desexed males, especially in the presence of females or rival males.
Reproductively intact females will mark, especially prior to coming into heat to advertise their availability, (oh la la). However, even desexed females sometimes urine mark.
A study of urine marking in dogs revealed that 10 percent of the dogs who urine marked started the behaviour at 3 months of age, 20 percent by 6 months, 40 percent by 12 months, 70 percent by 1½ years, and 90 percent before 2 years. Which is why Hans, (who was desexed at 8 weeks of ages barely lifts a leg – (unless he copies Odie of course).
While Odies’ shenanigans are something I have learnt over time to pre-plan and resulted in thinking twice before leaving expensive handbags/shoes/clothes (insert everything else I love here____) on the floor, there are some tips to help you if your dog is a graffiti artist too and you spend more hours on all fours cleaning up pee stain then your dog does.
After making sure your dog doesn’t have any urine related health problems or peeing due to anxiety or stress – try the following:
- If your dog isn’t desexed – desex him/her. Desexing male dogs successfully eliminates or greatly reduces household urine marking in 50 to 60 percent of cases.
- Confine your dog to one area of the house where you can watch him. Shut doors to other areas of the house or barricade them off with baby gates or improvise with whatever is at hand.
- Restrict your dog’s access to things he’s likely to mark. Don’t allow other dogs to visit your home or yard. You can also try blocking your dog’s visual access to other dogs.
- If you have a male dog, have him wear a bellyband (also known as a male dog wrap) so he can mark but not soil in your home. You can purchase yours by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- If your dog predictably marks certain objects, (bags, suitcases or shoes), or if he only marks in certain locations, place treats around those objects or in those areas. Your dog might start to regard objects he used to mark and places where he used to mark as sources of food rather than triggers for marking.
- Clean previously marked locations with an enzymatic cleaner- you can find these in good pet stores or in the supermarket.
- Try to make marked areas unpleasant to discourage your dog from returning. Try using double-sided sticky tape, vinyl carpet runner turned upside-down to expose the knobby surface, or other types of humane, harmless booby traps. Keep in mind, however, that your dog might simply select another place to urine mark.
- When you see your dog start to mark, you can try clapping loudly or spraying him with water. It’s very important to deliver these punishments while your dog is caught in the act of urine marking.