Bichon Rescue
Tennessee, Inc
is your host

Mission: To  address the plight of bichons in need ...  through education and responsible in-home rehabilitation  until adopting into competent and loving forever homes. 
Join us in saving lives . . . . educate, educate, educate!
  Last update:   10/13/04


Helpful Hints: Preventing and Correcting Marking by your Male Rescue Dog

By: Linda Weinberg
Doberman Assistance, Rescue and Education

Indoor marking should be treated as a housebreaking problem. Every new rescue dog should be treated as if they have never been housebroken. Remember the new dog does not know the rules of your house and how and where to go to as an indication that he needs to relieve himself. He will not know what door to go to, or how to tell you that he needs to go out. Some dogs recognize regular doors as the way out and others may recognize a sliding glass door or a doggy door. He may wet inside just because you two are getting your signals crossed. The idea is to try and not have any accidents or mistakes; therefore, it is best to start with your new rescue dog, regardless of age, just like he is a puppy. The most effective method (and the quickest) is a combination of a crate and the tether. The dog is crated when you are not home, and tied to your waist with a six-foot lead when you are. This way, he can't sneak off and do his "thing" without you knowing. This way he gets caught and taken out right away.

The dog should never go out unsupervised; if he hasn't done all of his business in ten minutes, he goes back in his crate for fifteen or twenty minutes, then back outside, etc., until he has urinated and/or defecated. Give him immense praise and treats every time he does what you want him to. This is also a great time to teach a potty command (Go Potty, Go tinkle, Hurry Up, or whatever). When the dog starts to urinate or defecate, tell him he is good and use the command word (Good potty, Good tinkle), he will start to associate the word with his behavior. A potty command will help the dog realize he is outside for business and not to play or do something else. (Great for those wet and/or cold mornings.)

For males that are confirmed markers, you need to out wit the dog and never let it get past the "thinking about marking" stage. If he starts sniffing or raising his leg like he is going to mark, yell, "Leave it" and since he is tethered to you still, you can pop the leash and walk away from the enticement (the walls, the furniture). After you correct the dog, then take him out immediately, and praise and rewarded for marking outside. In fact, on introducing your rescue dog to his new surroundings, it may be a good idea to walk him on leash from room to room in your home. Let him sniff and get familiar with his surroundings, give him some time to consider marking; the urge will be very strong and you will be quickly given the opportunity to correct and praise him for not marking. Always remember after the correction to take him outside and praise him for marking/urinating in the right place.

Some rescue dogs may feel too confined using the tether method. You need to evaluate how your dog would react to this level of human contact. Another method is the use of a shake can (a can with pennies in it). A shake can is great for sound sensitive dogs. Shake the can, create a lot of noise and tell him "No or Leave IT", just be consist with your correction. Or you can use a squirt gun. If you see the potential of marking or even catch him in the act, tell him to "Leave It" aim and fire the water spray at the dog. He will not like the surprise or the wetness. Both methods are also great distance reprimands and can even be used later when you proof your dog in an un-tethered fashion.

f you do have accidents in the house, it is critical to remove the odor of the event, so the dog does not go back and try to mark again. It is senseless to be in a battle of wits. Do not use ammonia products. Ammonia is a component of urine and will just intensify the stimulus. You need to again remove the enticement and incentive. If the dog goes on material that can be washed, you can use Natures Miracle in the washing machine, and if it is upholstery, you can steam clean it using Natures Miracle in the rinse water

Having the dog wear boxer or jockey shorts when is he is indoors and not in the crate is another method. Boxers/jockeys work well because the dog never actually gets to mark anything except him. They hate wetting themselves and it takes the pleasure out of marking. With this method you don't have to be a timing expert, the dog gets an immediate correction. Of course the dog does not wear the boxers/jockeys when he is outside.

It is critical that the dog is never left unsupervised unless he is in his crate. Positive reinforcement is essential for you and the dog to have success in resolving this issue. This can be more quickly resolved if you have more wins than mistakes in your training. You need to praise him for what you saw him do and that is potty outside.