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Old 01-02-2013, 12:00 PM
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Thought we fixed this!

We had some issues with Walnut marking indoors.
He never marked in our home, but marked once at a friends house and once in PetSmart.

After that, we really kept a good eye on him, and thought we fixed the issue as he hadn't tried to marked indoors for a long time.

This weekend though, he marked indoors again on two occasions (two different friend's houses, both with dogs).

It's strange because he plays with them just fine, and is good friends with one of them (another Golden). They get a long very, very well, yet when we visited, he marked again!

When our friends golden spend a day at our house, Walnut did not mark. So he's not marking our home at all.


He's schedule for neutering on January 25th, and will be exactly 14mths on that day. In the mean time, i'm wondering what we can do to complement the neuter.

When he's on leash, he doesn't mark at all until we give him the "go sniff" command, at which point he is guaranteed to mark.

When he's off-leash, he would rather sniff/mark to do anything else. It's really annoying, because it's become a little obsessive for him when he's off-leash. When he starts to sniff (with intentions to mark), he doesn't hear anything. Basically nothing matters until he's done marking. When he is done marking, he responds to all commands with no issues.

My questions:
How can we prevent/stop obsessive marking outdoor off-leash?

Will stopping him from marking outdoors reduce urges to mark in PetSmart and friend's homes?

How can I "connect" with him at a distance when he wants to mark? I need to catch him just before he lifts his leg, but can't do so when he's off-leash.

note: I've tried a long leash, so I can give it a tug when he tries to mark, but it's hard because 1) he smart and knows he's on a leash and won't mark 2) even if he didnt' know he was on leash, it would be hard to roll up the leash in-time to remind him with a tug. If I tell him to "leave it", he will, but then i have to keep telling him to leave EVERYTHING.

I thought about paging collar, but i'm really against those types of things. We've clicker trained him with positive reinforcement, and dont' intend to put any electronic collar on him.

His recall, focus, and everything else is MUCH better than it was a few months ago - but he seems to not hear anything when he's "in the zone".

I think our biggest obstacle is communicating with him at a distance - to stop marking altogether as a default behaviour.

p.s: I've tried shaking a can of coins too...I think he likes the noise
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Last edited by Walnut_the_Nut; 01-02-2013 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 01-02-2013, 12:05 PM
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I think he's probably just overwhelmed with all the unfamiliar smells, which triggers those instinctive behaviors.

I've heard my dog trainer suggest a plastic bottle with pebbles in it, and when you see the dog starting to mark, toss the bottle in the air toward the dog. This might startle him enough to stop the behavior...I've never tested it though.
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Old 01-02-2013, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goldentemperment View Post
I think he's probably just overwhelmed with all the unfamiliar smells, which triggers those instinctive behaviors.

I've heard my dog trainer suggest a plastic bottle with pebbles in it, and when you see the dog starting to mark, toss the bottle in the air toward the dog. This might startle him enough to stop the behavior...I've never tested it though.
The bottle with peddles sounds similar to the can of coins, which didin't work for us.

I found two issues with trying to startle him with noise:

1. He didn't mind the noise. It startled him once in the middle of his mark - that's it. Never again did it bother him

2. By the time I aim an throw, he would have already finished marking. From what i've read, we need to catch him JUST before he marks. Not during, not after. His marks are VERY quick. Usually no more than 1-2 second.
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Old 01-02-2013, 12:20 PM
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Did you try tossing the bottle of coins in the air toward him? That act of worrying about something falling on him might startle him?
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by goldentemperment View Post
Did you try tossing the bottle of coins in the air toward him? That act of worrying about something falling on him might startle him?
Yes. It worked once, and that's it. I tried several times after and no response. Once I accidentally hit his tail, and it was as if nothing even happened. His nose was still in the ground finding his "spot", and sure enogh, continued to mark.

I know when he's gonna do it, I just don't know what to distract him with from a distance.

He's really smart. Too smart. He know I don't want him marking and finds a way around it. This is why he never does it on leash (which is nice) but goes crazy marking off leash.

I stopped tying to startle him by throwing a bottle of coins after cäching his tail last time. I don't want to hit thrum by accident.
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:29 PM
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So when a dog is housebroken all that happens in the dog's mind is your home has become one large crate to him. We see it all the time when a dog will find a way to the unused basement and use it as a bathroom. In the dog's mind that area is not part of his crate.

Guess what, Petsmart and your friends homes are not part of his expanded crate. For many dogs it takes a bit more training to understand that all indoor areas are a "crate".

Instead of clicker training I use a verbal "Gooood" for the positive and "NO!" for the negative. I don't have to look for a clicker and both of my hands are free to work the dog. For your problem, I would do a couple of set ups at your friends homes and Petsmart or any other store that allow dogs. When the leg starts to cock, I would give a smart correction with the leash and a "NO!". Immediately take him outside and give him your command to go potty. That way he can learn the inside = no potty, outside = go potty.

As far as the excessive sniffing and leg lifting outside, he is leaving his calling card for all other dogs. If you want him to obey you off leash, then you will have to do some obedience work off leash. It sounds like he has learned to associate the leash with obedience and off leash as his own time. That works well at the dog park but can be trouble if he ever gets off leash in your neighborhood or away from home.
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:02 AM
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I guess i'll try taking him to PetSmart tonight to see what he does. I really don't want him marking in anyone's house. He NEVER marks in my parents house (no dogs) or at my wife's parent's house (no dogs). It seems to only happen in peoples home's who have dogs.

Just as a test, I decided to try coins in a bottle vs. coins in a can. I took him out last night to practice some recall and play. I put him on a 8 ft. leash and caught him trying to mark...on leash!!!

Luckily I had the bottle in my hand and shook it violently right as he was about to mark. To my surprise, the bottle+coins scared the crap out of him (not sure why can+coin didn't do anything). He still finished his mark, but left a funny looking zig-zag trail of pee.

I let him pee 2 times before I pulled the coin bottle out, so I know for sure it was a mark, and not a pee (he still squats to pee and mark 70% of time, unless near a fence - then he raises a leg and almost falls over).

So while on play time (off-leash) I caught him again trying to mark a good 5-6 times within a 20-30 minute time frame.

He was off-lease, but within 10-12ft from me (he normally doesn't go more than 20 feet ahead of me when off-leash) .

I shook the bottle with every attempted mark. He managed to finish marking every single time, but didn't enjoy doing it as he was shocked/scared.

I took him out again this morning, and he seemed a little nervous. I gave him the "Go Pee" command, and he peed (a good 10-12 seconds). On the rest of the morning walk (15 minutes), he attempted to mark 4-5 times. Again, i shook the bottle with every mark. After his 5th attempt, I think he was so confused/nervous that he just stuck by my side the rest of the walk and didn't bother sniffing at all.

I hid the bottle behind my back while shaking it, so he didn't know it was me making all that noise.


I hope this eliminates or at least reduces his urges to mark.

Thanks for the suggestions to use a bottle. I'm not sure why the can didn't work as well.

We haven't cancelled his neutering appointment, and don't think we will.

Although we are a little worried that 14 months is still too young, as he still has a bit of a baby face. Other than his marking "accidents", he shows no other signs of negative behaviour and is REALLY well socialized. He also does not hump, bark, growl, bite, or anything like that.

Based on the more recent pics below, any ideas on weather he still has more room to grow? I read somewhere that at 14 months, so large breed experience their final growth spurt.

p.s: this is our first pet - hence all the questions.





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Old 01-03-2013, 11:13 AM
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Walnut is very handsome. Love his coloring. Looks full grown to me. He could still fill-out a little, but I do not think he will get any taller.
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:28 AM
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Walnut is very handsome. Love his coloring. Looks full grown to me. He could still fill-out a little, but I do not think he will get any taller.
Thank you very much for the compliment and feedback.

I wonder if they stop "filling" immediately after being neutered, or if they continue to fill (but not get taller) even after the neuter?

So much to learn
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:37 PM
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Update:

Been using the pennies in plastic bottle for over a week now. The results:

off leash – still has urges to mark, and still tries occasionally. I always have the shaker ready and do my best to "get him" before he squats or lifts. On our usual 1 hours nightly off-leash play time, he would mark well over 10-15 times.

This number has been reduced to 1-2 times...but only because he knows I'm watching.

on leash – practically no marking at all. Every time he has an urge to mark, he looks up and back at me when he does, I give him a treat. It's actually kind of funny to watch. He'll sniff sniff sniff, then quickly look back at me - becuase I think he's scared of the shaker noise.

Things are looking better. He's neutering is still scheduled, so we'll see what happens.
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