Here is a widespread problem that particularly affects small dogs, but not only. It’s more the males who do it, but there are also some females who come to raise their paw to pee inside the house. Let’s try to understand why this is happening.
The subject of markings is immense, one could write a book about it. We will not treat it in depth, because it would not be enough space. For now, we just need a few basic notions.
First of all, it is good to know that depending on the context, urine marking can have a different meaning regardless of where it is made. Through urine dogs carry many chemical messages and we know that chemical/olfactory communication is the preferred channel to interact with conspecifics (but not only).
Through urine the dog can give information about his health, mood, intentions, discomfort, fear, joy and much more. All this naturally escapes our sense of smell (ridiculous compared to theirs).
It also often happens that dogs lick other people’s pee, to make a more accurate analysis of the smell they are smelling. They do so thanks to the vomeronasal organ, an auxiliary olfactory sense organ found in many animals, including dogs. Through this organ, also called the Jacobson’s organ, which connects nose and mouth, the dog can smell and taste at the same time.
THE DOG MARKS INSIDE THE HOUSE
Small premise: Whenever such “accidents” occur, it is appropriate to first investigate a possible health problem. If from one day to the next your dog, who never peed in the house, starts peeing everywhere, make sure there is nothing wrong with a simple visit to the vet.
Once a medical problem has been ruled out there can be many reasons, and it is not always easy to find them. To do this you may really need the help of a professional (an educator, an instructor, a behavioral veterinarian), who will also help you solve the problem.
Among the most frequent messages that dogs try to convey with urine (but also more misunderstood by humans) are:
- Introduce yourself.
- Familiarize yourself with a new environment.
- Transmit reproductive status information.
- Delimit a territory.
- Calm/calm down (calm signals).
It may have happened to many of you to go to a friend’s house with your dog (perhaps male and small) and have to watch his every step because you know that sooner or later he will take a little pee somewhere. If, for example, your friends have dogs (including a female), one of the possible reasons could be a “sexual” presentation to a possible partner. Not only that: if the two dogs meet for the first time, even if they are both males, it is by no means certain that they are trying to dominate each other.
A widespread and erroneous opinion is that urinary markings are exclusive only to so-called “dominant” dogs, who want to claim ownership of any object they pee on. Although this is a possible reason, it is not the only one, and very often this is not the case.
About a billion different pieces of information pass through the meeting between two dogs. Posture, glance, open or closed mouth, ear position, movements in the environment, are all part of the communication between dogs. If this is not enough, what other means of communication can be used? Peeing. Urinary marking is perhaps the most effective way to communicate your intentions, and if you are in a domestic environment … patience (poor us who have to clean, but the dog is having a conversation).
There is no solution, or rather, there isn’t one. To get to the bottom of the matter, you will have to analyse many aspects of the dog’s life, and you can only do this by observing the dog in person. Regardless of markings in the presence of other dogs, some cases of “unexplained” episodes actually have very specific reasons.
A dog that lives alone in the house and is not in contact with others at that precise moment, could decide, for example, to pee in the house (often on the owner’s bed) because of a conflict that lives in his social group: his family. There is, unfortunately, no advice we can give you other than to contact a good dog educator.