How Does Your Pooch Mark Their Scent?
Many dog owners will be aware of ‘peemail’, the scent marking trait of all canines that is very serious business in their world.
As humans we have all experienced our dogs urinating in familiar places and investigating other pooches’ peeing spots. But why do our favourite pets use urine to mark their territory, and what importance does it hold in their society?
Why do dogs scent mark?
Unbeknown to most dog owners, our animals’ urine is much more significant than we may think. Canines possess the ability to determine the gender, status and even health of their fellow four-legged friends, simply with a sniff of their wee.
Investigating the spot of a previous pooch, male and females will mark their scent in different ways for a variety of reasons. Males, who tend to urinate more frequently than their counterparts, will mark their territory predominantly as a status symbol.
Females on the other hand will spend a longer period investigating the scent of other dogs, often of unfamiliar canines of both genders. They are also very rarely prone to ‘over-mark’, or pee on a previously taken spot, and rather urinate adjacently.
As many female pooches are reproductively intact, or in other words unsprayed, they are prone to marking in an attempt to notify males that they are in heat. Male dogs will therefore be attracted to the urine, cocking their leg in turn to mark their territory.
Territory is extremely important to canines, and acts as another motive behind scent marking. For example, some dogs scent mark when they smell urine left by others in what they believe is their environment.
Scent marking can also prove very popular in multi-dog households, as the competition for status, space and human attention can often result in your pet marking objects such as toys, beds or even something that smells heavily of the owner.
What can we do as owners?
The vast majority of dog owners will be unaware of the implications of scent marking, or otherwise merely choose to ignore questions surrounding the topic. However, the natural characteristic of our pooches can indicate various issues of significance.
In a sense, we should be asking ourselves why dogs mark, and what it may tell us regarding their health, character, social status and personality – as well as the question as to why male dogs urinate more than females when marking their territory.
Some owners will also have experienced young dogs continuing to mark inside the house, even following persistent training and walks. If this is the case, it is recommended that you contact a knowledgeable dog trainer or investigate spaying or neutering services.
Canines of an older age who mark are equally as important, due to the fact that illnesses and diseases such as cystitis and kidney dysfunction can be indicated through unusual marking behaviours.
Many experts will suggest that owners should keep a log of their dogs’ marking, and as strange as that may sound, the observations could prove a lifesaver.