Potty Accidents vs Territorial Marking
While working with a dog trainer in Philadelphia, we talked about how there’s a big difference between your dog having and accident and territorially marking. An accident is purely that…an accident. Marking is deliberate, and your dog’s way of asserting and attempting to establish some degree of dominance. The one good thing both potty accidents and territorial marking have in common is that these behaviors can be curbed and eliminated.
Accidents tend to occur because a dog has not been house trained yet. House breaking can be accomplished by rigorous structure with a dog’s feeding and water intake, bathroom breaks, while also making sure the dog doesn’t have the opportunity (i.e.: a crate is a WONDERFUL tool to assist in potty training a puppy or adult dog). Some accidents can occur when a dog has excited or submissive urination issues. Many dogs will never eliminate in the home, unless something sets off an accident.
For example, I worked with a hyperactive Labrador mix who would urinate every time the owner came home, because he could not contain his excitement, along with his bladder. Also, many years ago, I worked with a Shih Tzu who was extremely nervous and would sometimes urinate if the owner so much as made a sudden movement toward the dog. This accidents can still be overcome — with the hyperactive Lab, we worked on calming the dog down, through controlled routines and leadership from the owner. With the Shih Tzu, we worked on building his confidence through crate training, obedience exercises, and general bonding with the owner.
Territorial marking is a bit different. This is a sign of your dog’s dominance coming out. Most dogs demonstrate some dominance — if you walk your dog and they are stopping at every bush, telephone pole, or fire hydrant to urinate, they are marking. This isn’t a big deal, unless the dog is showing more aggressive signs of dominance, or marking your house and household items.
If your dog is marking, they are probably marking consistent spots and things. They detect the scent of urine (theirs or another dogs) and mark it to show dominance and their ownership. If your dog is doing this in your home, this is an issue and needs to be addressed, not only for the cleanliness of your house, but so your dog doesn’t dominate you and see you as at the bottom of the pecking order. Training can help teach a dog that you are the leader, and not that them, and that they can live happy lives following your direction. All dogs want guidance, and if none is offered to them, then there’s a good chance they will then take the leadership role for themselves and begin to dominate like an alpha.
If your dog is having potty accidents, we can also help with that. Whether it’s potty training, nervous urination, or excited urination, we can get your dog in a structure where they can feel calmer and understand how to appropriately eliminate outside, rather than inside.
If you’re dealing with either potty accidents or territorial marking, call us at 800-649-7297 and we’ll help with our customized, in-home training program!