May issue

May issue
May issue

Friday, 12 September 2014

Leaving his mark

Hello Think Tank,

I have a rescued an eight-year-old male Bichon Frise and I have had him for three years. When I first got him he was unneutered so I had him neutered fairly quickly.  He is very loving and a very good boy at home because he is very cuddly and doesn't wet in the house.

For three years he has been looked after at a dog sitters house where there are up to four other small dogs. He loves it there and is content.

But recently he has been lifting his leg and 'marker' weeing in certain places. Also he has been pestering a male dog for a lot of time during the day! He has never been bothered or interested in other dogs - until now!

I have tried using 'scullcap and valerian' tablets but they do not seem to work.

Can anyone help me to find a solution to this new behaviour please?

Thank you. 


Terri Sherlock


  1. First of all has your dog been for a vet check, new behaviours could be related to a health problem. However if its just at the pet sitters and only this one dog he is bothering I wonder if the other dog has a health problem. I believe I have read that some male cancers can cause a male dog to give off strong female hormones. This could be why your dog is reacting to the other dog plus feeling he has got to stake his claim. Should both dogs check out I would go back to basics on toilet training and make sure all accidents are cleaned up with biological washing powder. You could also try a belly band in the house.

  2. Dear Terri

    Sometimes castrated dogs still show male-oriented behaviours especially if they are castrated after they have developed as an adult. As long as a Vet has ruled out any medical causes, a change in their behaviour is likely to be due to something altering in the dog's environment. There are situations that can cause any dog to feel rather more unsettled. It may be due to a change in routine, environmental changes, the introduction of another pet, or other pressures the dog may be experiencing. The resultant behaviour can be the dog re-establishing a feeling of familiarity through scent-marking although this is not the only reason. If he is particularly focussed on one other dog, it may be something about this dog that is interesting him - sometimes impacted or infected anal glands in the other dog can cause this. It would need a thorough assessment to be sure, and I recommend contacting an APBC behaviourist for proper assistance after the relevant Vet checks.

    Karen Wild, Dogs Today Behaviourist