Our 9mo Havanese intact male has started to mark in the house on vertical surfaces. How do we stop this? He is trained to go outside and inside on tray. For now, he's back in the ex-pen like potty training days. Do I just train him using the same potty training methods... take him out often, keep him tethered to me if out of the expen, praise when pees in tray/outside? Do I tell him a firm no if I catch him marking? (if he marks the sides of his expen for example). Any tips appreciated. I know about the belly band, but the training is what I'm more interested in. Thanks!
Training for marking is the same and different than “potty training”. Yes, you need to go back to close confinement and supervision, but taking him out more often will not help, because this has NOTHING to do with needing to urinate. A dog who feels the urge to mark, who has not learned that marking indoors is not appropriate will STILL lift his leg if he is COMPLETELY empty and there is not a single drop he can coax out! In fact, he will often hold some urine back when peeing, so he has “ammunition”!
So this really IS a case of needing to supervise him EVERY MOMENT that he has any freedom in your house and BOTH confining him AND putting a belly band on him to prevent him from continue to leave the smell of marking when you can’t have eyes on. FORTUNATELY, if he is an only dog, or is at least not around other intact dogs leaving THEIR scent around, it should not take as long to get this message across as potty training.
UNLIKE potty training, where it is SO important that you teach the puppy where it is appropriate to potty, there is no physiological “need” for him to mark. He knows where he can go to urinate. Believe me, dogs DO know the difference! We think of them as the same thing because they both involve urine. Dogs do not!!! So unlike potty training, where you do NOT want to use aversives, it is absolutely FINE to get after your pup for inappropriate marking! Now, be careful with this. Havanese are small, sensitive dogs, and most of us have it (appropriatel) drilled into our heads to use positive training methods with our dogs! But to yell and clap your hands loudly the moment you see that leg go up is usually PLENTY aversive enough to get the attention of our little guys!!!
Obviously, allow him to mark outdoors, but I do NOT allow dogs to mark at evert single vertical surface. We have our brisk “walk”, and then I allow them some “sniff walk” time, where they can “be a dog”. (BTW, many girls mark too, and enjoy this sniff walk time also!)
Again, if your puppy is not in a “sexual environment”, you can usually get a handle on this relatively quickly. In Europe, most male dogs are not neutered, and are taught that this is not appropriate behavior inside buildings. It is just considered a normal part of raising the puppy!