Is your dog an excessive marker?

I am always fascinated when Shiva’s behaviour changes without apparent cause. So much of her routine is consistent and her actions fall within an expected set of actions. Even when she does something crazy, I can usually predict it. I know when she is going to smack her head into the wall to snatch a ball; I don’t have to look to investigate the source of the sickening sound of skull against brick. Knowing is not preventing.

But, again, I digress. It seems I have a set of predictable behaviours too.

ANYway, Shiva”s actions are so steady that she throws me off anytime she adopts a new habit. This round, that habit is marking.

Shiva has never been all that interested in marking her place on the side of a tree. Every once in a while she would make a half-hearted attempt, going through the motions, as if to prove she is, indeed, a dog, but it has never been part of her standard repertoire. Other dogs might feel the need to cover her urine with their own, she couldn’t be bothered to return the favour.

Until this week.


For the last few days, Shiva has felt the urge to sign her name on every other post and urban structure we pass. And not in her typical ladylike fashion, either, as if she is almost embarrassed to be caught in something so base. No, she has been in full leg-lifting mode, to the point she has performed full handstands to ensure her pee will spray on a precise location. It’s mystifying.

There has only been one other time in her life where she performed this behaviour. When we moved from Halifax to Edmonton, she drove me crazy for several weeks while she insisted upon leaving her mark every where and any where. Sometimes twice. But I rationalized that as a need to declare her presence in a new neighbourhood. The smells here in dry northern Alberta must be nothing like the ones in humid coastal Nova Scotia. She had to familiarize herself, announce herself to her fellow canines, let them know she was around now and meant no harm.

Or something.

But we have lived in the same house for over a year now. Why would this action resurface? Could she be feeling insecure about something? Maybe a new dog has moved in and she wants to let him or her know she walks this beat too?

It’s curious. I am not worried. She has no signs of physical illness and I don’t think it is related to a UTI. Of course, I’ll keep watch just in case. From what I can tell, however, it is simple marking behaviour. Me being me, I can’t help but wonder the cause.

4 thoughts on “Is your dog an excessive marker?

  1. Boomer marks everything, I swear we’re stopping every few feet. One thing I’ve noticed is that when another dog is around he goes a little nuts and can’t mark fast enough. So maybe it’s the same with Shiva, maybe someone new has moved into the neighborhood?


  2. Rufus goes through phases as well. Sometimes he’ll only lift his leg once or twice on a walk, and other times? Oh my God, I lose count! For him, it’s all about new smells. If another dog has just taken the same route as us, you can bet he’s going to make sure everyone knows that path belongs to him and not the hound before him.


  3. I wonder why the sudden start?! BD has recently started to mark more, but I think that’s because he is watching and following Mity who marks on anything!
    Love the new look blog (and that fact it will let me comment!) I thought I had been banned – it wouldn’t let me comment or view anything for a while!


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