Marking territory

Grossemy

All dogs mark their territory, regardless of age or sex. This is a means of communication which varies greatly depending on the dog’s social status. The development of communication systems is an absolute necessity in social species like domesticated carnivores. Territory is typically marked by urine or faeces deposits, which are both visual and olfactory in nature.

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Dogs may urinate in the strategic locations of social importance in the home such as on a table leg, in bed, in the hallway and in the main doorway.

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Olfactory communication relies on chemical substances known as pheromones, which are hormones that transmit information between individuals of the same species and trigger a behavioural or physiological response in the recipient. They are released by anal, perianal, facial, interdigital and supra-caudal glands. Pheromones are also contained in saliva, faeces, and particularly urine. They are released, via the faeces and urine in particular, in social contexts such as sexual and territorial behaviour. The pheromones linked to territorial marking come from the feet and urine. They are released during the intimidation phase of territorial aggression. The dog scratches the ground with its front paw and urinates by raising its hind leg. When a subordinate dog smells a urine deposit from a dominant dog it tends to release submission signals and urinate on the ground. Pheromones released in the urine appear to convey hierarchical information. In conflicts between humans and dogs, the dog may urinate in the strategic locations of social importance in the home such as on a table leg, in bed, in the hallway and in the main doorway. This type of urination is hierarchical in nature. Some dogs will even defaecate in a bed or on the arm of a sofa –somewhere highly visible. In this case, the faeces will be soft.

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Marking territory
    Marking territory

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