Dog’s Marking Doesn’t Do Deck Any Favors

I have two 2-year-old neutered canine brothers (I found out after the fact that it is not a good idea to get them from the same litter). They have lots of forested room to roam, but “Jake” — the dominant one — occasionally insists on peeing on the deck. I can’t catch him at it. Why does he do that, and how can I get him to stop? — Carolyn V., via e-mail

That can be tough to stop, since the deck is often considered part of the family living area for everyone, including the dogs. You’ll need to regain control of the deck area and remind Jake who’s boss. Whenever the dogs are off-leash, roaming through the yard and woods, block access to the deck and don’t allow them on until you have called them up the steps and clipped a leash on Jake and his brother. You may want to have a second person leash the less-dominant dog. Jake may, at this time, attempt to tug himself over to his usual marking spot, and drag you with him. Give him a firm “no” and order him to sit and stay. At this time you can take his brother inside the house while you work with Jake. For the next several days or weeks, the deck is going to become Training Central. Work with Jake and his brother, separately. Whenever Jake begins to sniff around or tries to mark something, firmly tell him “no” and continue giving him basic obedience commands. When he follows your commands, and especially when he stops sniffing and obeys rather than tries to mark, give him lots of praise and treats (if you choose). To further discourage marking, clean the areas he has marked and treat with an odor neutralizer.

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