Stop Dog Peeing in the House With Pack Behavior Study Tips
By Cat Pesale
Trying to figure out how to stop dog peeing in the house, especially when you own more than one dog? I know I was. After around a decade of living with three dogs, I began noticing that our dogs have started developing their own personalities and behaviors. This became very obvious when we brought in our two chihuahuas Godzilla and Eddie–both of whom inspired our Barkitwear® P-Suits® dog diaper alternative to stop dog peeing in the house.
Godzilla was quite possibly the best puppy you could ask for. He was a quick study when it came to potty training, and as a growing dog he clearly understood that he needed to pee outside or on walks. Things quickly changed, however, when we brought in our second chihuahua, Eddie.
Eddie was—and still is to some extent—a submissive dog. When we got him as a puppy, he used to dribble urine anytime someone approached him. While he eventually grew out of this behavior, Godzilla quickly sensed there was another dog’s urine in the house. Soon enough, we started noticing dog pee on our furniture, rugs, drapes, and even carpeting. What started as small urine dribbles around the house quickly turned into puddles and soaked areas that required constant cleaning. In some instances, our dogs’ marking irreparably damaged our couches, drapes, and other home furnishings, which forced us to try figuring out a way to stop dog peeing in the house.
We quickly realized that Godzilla, despite being properly potty-trained, was marking his territory indoors in response to Eddie’s submissive urination. Dog peeing in the house–particularly territorial marking–is a complex but common behavior, and occurs when dogs pee in the house in small amounts as a way to “mark their territory.” As it turns out, 40 percent of dogs exhibit marking behavior by age 1, and ninety percent of dogs start exhibiting urine marking behavior by age 2.
How The Study Can Help You Stop Dog Peeing In the House
However, what Godzilla was doing, in particular, was countermarking, the act of marking over another dog’s urine. We soon found out that this is a common issue for owners like us who are figuring how to stop dog peeing in the house with multiple dogs.
According to a recent University of Wisconsin study, countermarking behavior has been found to be particularly prevalent in dog packs as a way of asserting and/or maintaining high social status in the pack. In other words, countermarking is a way for dogs in a pack to establish the “top dog” or “alpha male” of the pack. This is why many families with more than one dog may notice territorial marking behavior—particularly if those families own more than one male dog.
Spaying and neutering dogs can go a long way to stopping this kind of indoor dog peeing behavior—and is really a great idea in general for a number of health-related reasons. However, the study showed that while neutered males were less likely to mark over female dog urine than their intact counterparts, spaying and neutering does not impact general dog marking behavior. The study, as summarized in an article from The Bark, tracked how a group of dogs marked on (overmarked) or near (adjacent marked) urine samples from other dogs:
Male dogs who were found to have overmarked had higher social status in their dog packs than males who didn’t
Familiarity with a dog didn’t significantly determine whether a dog overmarked, but dogs adjacent-marked urine samples from unfamiliar dogs
Being spayed or neutered had no relationship with the likelihood of countermarking
Neither gender nor social standing affected the likelihood of adjacent marking
Both male and female dogs countermark and investigate other dogs’ urine
Male and female dogs with higher pack social status tended to do more urinating, countermarking and dog urine investigating than those that had lower pack social status
Therefore, if you have your own pack of dogs, it would be a really good idea to keep a close eye on what they do inside the house—especially your alpha males and females. Knowing what to look out for will go a long way towards helping you stop dog peeing in the house.