When I think about dogs marking their territory, the first image that comes to mind is a male dog hiking his leg and relieving himself on every bush, pole or fire hydrant he comes across. I never associated urine marking with female dogs until Haley started doing it a few years ago. It’s common for intact males or unspayed females to mark their territory to advertise their availability for mating (think Tinder for dogs ), but since Haley was spayed at a young age, it seems strange that she would start this habit later in life.
When she was younger, Haley might stop one time while on a walk to relieve herself but now she stops many times to sniff, pee a little and leave her “Haley Was Here” message to others. She also watches at the front window, keeping a close eye on her yard for any neighborhood canine intruders that might step onto the lawn. After they pass, she can’t wait to go outside to repair her invisible scent fence along the boundary of the yard. It’s amusing to watch because she’ll sniff the ground where they walked, glance down the street at them, then pee to cover their scent. She’s not exactly Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino, but she is saying “Get off my lawn!” in her own way.
While hiking, I’ve seen Haley do the two step, walking while squatting routine on another dog’s scent and I’ve even seen her attempt to pee on a tree which is quite funny since she’s not a leg lifter. I know dogs are territorial and marking is a way of denoting their boundaries but I’m curious why she started doing this later in life. Here are a couple of theories I’ve come across.
Theories for Why Female Dogs Mark Their Territory
Since dogs lack opposable thumbs or staplers and pencils, they must rely on using their body language, barking or marking with urine or poop. Yep, some dogs actually poop on things to leave their scent. Yikes! I’m thankful Haley only feels compelled to mark her boundaries outside of the house. She has her favorite spots to mark, like the grassy median strip at the entrance to our neighborhood and I get the impression she thinks that area belongs to her since she reclaims it each time we go for a walk.
Do you have a spayed, female dog that marks her territory? What’s your theory?