Friday, 17 December 2010

Do male dogs have to lift their legs on every lamp post?

I was recently watching a gentleman with a dog walking in central London. The large dog pulled him from one lamp post to pillars, to bins and then lamp posts again... I have also had this question from clients on several occasions... Do male dogs really have to lift their leg on every lamp post they come across?

The short answer is: NO, they don't!

It is of course perfectly natural behaviour for a male dog (regardless of whether they are neutered or not) to cock their leg and leave their mark wherever they go - it's their way of communicating with other dogs. However, a dog can be taught to walk without pulling the owner from one lamp post to the next provided of course they get ample opportunity to mark in appropriate places.

So it is perfectly acceptable and actually good manners to expect your dog to walk next to you on a pavement without pulling left and right to mark every vertical surface they come across. If your dog is already used to walking like this then it will take some getting used to until the dog learns that it is not allowed anymore, but in no time he will understand the new rules. The side effect of stopping the marking whilst road walking also means that your dog is less likely to pull and you won't annoy the neighbours if your dog is not the first of many that mark their house wall or garden fence.

Of course, as I mentioned before, the male dog needs to have opportunities to display their natural marking behaviour, but there is a place and time for everything!

TRAINING TIP: if the lead is short, the dog is not allowed to mark or venture from your side in any way, when the lead is long, then the dog gets more freedom. Simples!

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