I recently adopted a dog who is already 4 years old and has been moved around a lot. I'm not sure all of the training and habits he has learned in the past, but he does good in the house so far. I have never had a male dog before who marks his territory (only outside), so he is the first and I'm unsure/worried about some things.

I have been training him to walk beside me and correcting him very meticulously when he walks in front of me. I have been giving him time now and then to smell the bushes because it seems he really enjoys that and also I want to make sure he urinates as much as he can during that walk. However, it seems that he urinates only a little bit each time to mark his territory and I'd rather he just urinated a lot at once, or even just a few times. I'm worried that he isn't urinating enough. Should I be letting him mark his territory every time he wants to to make sure he urinates as much as he can, or should I only let him do it a few times until he gets the idea that he can't save his urine to mark his territory everywhere when we go for a walk?

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    Related: pets.stackexchange.com/questions/365/…. Personally, I'll let a better expert than I answer, but my 2 cents is you'll eventually get a feel for how much the dog needs to go and when he is just marking. But think about it this way... do you need to pee every 20 yards (or meters depending on your locale)? :-) Commented Jan 18, 2014 at 20:31

1 Answer 1


The dog learns soon how long an average walk is with you, and administers his dosage of pee so that he can keep on marking his territory as far as the walk continues. When there's more people involved in walking the dog daily then it will also learn to individual habits of each person regarding the length of a walk. Some clever animals, dogs.

It is quite okay to not let him urinate at his own will if you want a good walk for your own health. Just shorten the leash a bit and pick up speed. Your dog learns what that means and will happily go along. With my dogs I also include a command to that, I use a Finnish word that translates to "Going!" and the dog knows it's time to really go and leave those inviting smells for a while. I don't want the entire walk to turn into a continuous stop-and-go.

It is not just boring day to day routine though, you'll notice. For example my dog likes to drink unhealthy amounts of water when we go to a beach. Some two or three hours after coming back home he'll become nervous and makes it clear he needs to go. I have witnessed him peeing for over two minutes without a break after such visit to beach. After he relieved himself we don't go for a walk (if it is not that time) but instead return immediately home.

When peeing for territorial marking the dog first sniffs for previous markings. If he was the last one to pee on that bush/tree/whatnot then he might well leave it without marking. If there is new markings after his last visit, he'll most likely try to cover it with his own pee. If there is a female dog in season nearby, then her peeing spots will be of great interest and will get marked by your dog after examination.

Marking is not only a territory thing, it is also communication between other dogs in the neighbourhood. That's why it is important for him to adjust his markings so that he can continue the job throughout the walk. It is a sad dog who runs out of pee in the middle of a walk.


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