We have four miniature dachshunds. We started with a brother and sister. Years later, we bred the sister, and we kept two of her female puppies. After that, the male began to mark in the house. He was always neutered and had never done this before. We used wraps to contain this, and they were only somewhat effective. He then injured his back and was unable to lift his leg for more than a year. Now, he is well-healed, and back to lifting his leg in the house again. In a few weeks, we’re expecting new furniture to arrive. Any suggestions? We never see him do it, so it is difficult to react to him.
— Rachel, Northport, New York
He is not marking to relieve himself, but to leave messages around the house, so the other dogs know he’s the dominant dog in the home. Dogs like to mark places they have marked before, so begin by using an enzymatic cleaner to completely remove his scent from the home.
Next, I am not sure why the “wraps” or belly bands didn’t work, but I suggest using them again as they were invented for dogs that mark in the house. Even if he lifts his leg, he will wet the band and not your walls or furniture.
It’s impossible to correct a behavior without catching the dog in the act, so if you don’t use the bands, you will need to supervise him by restricting him to rooms you are in at the time or by putting him in a crate when you can’t supervise. When he hikes his leg, interrupt the behavior by saying “no” and clapping your hands to get his attention. Then, take him outside and give him treats when he pees there.
It can take time to correct this behavior, so be consistent with the training.
Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, children’s author, syndicated pet columnist, and pet expert with more than 30 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to email@example.com. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal