General Question

Traveosa's avatar

Why do dogs mark territory?

Asked by Traveosa (60points) July 25th, 2008

I am pretty sure that they know what their territory is. No one else comes into our backyard. So why do they mark it?

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12 Answers

Dog's avatar

Urine is a calling card for dogs- it can tell the sniffing dog sex, age etc of the dog and more. It also shows dominance in packs and establishes that an area is inhabited by another.

Magnus's avatar

Why does man mark territory?

Dog's avatar

Same reasons.

Traveosa's avatar

But my dogs ignore other markings. If a lab comes by and marks a tree, then next day, my dog will mark the tree. Also, in the backyard, when one dogs marks, the other marks over that.

Dog's avatar

last line applies in my first post.

Maybe it would help to think of it like telephone poles with advertising on them. They are stapled over one another in an effort to get the ad seen.

marinelife's avatar

Dogs are essentially domestic wolves.

“Scent plays a very important role in the life of the wolf, by smell alone wolves can locate prey, other pack members or enemies. It can tell them if other wolves were in the territory, if they were male or female, and how recently they visited. The wolf has several specialized glands, one around the anus and another on its back about 3 inches (7.6 centimetres) in the front of the base of its tail. The scent from these glands is as individualistic as are out fingerprints and is used by that particular wolf as its personal calling card. These Glands are used as to mark boundaries and also to mark trails. These “Scent Stations” are often 100 yards (91 metres) apart.

The wolf use scent to mark territory, establish position of site of a kill and other factors within the pack.

The Alpha wolf will direct urine at stumps, rocks, or trees this marks the packs presents to the members of the pack and other wolves. Wolves from rival packs may mark over the existing scent mark to obscure its odor. The marks may also be used as a boundary or fence post acting as a direction system.”

Dog's avatar

Great answer Marina.

loser's avatar

I call it p-mail!

marinelife's avatar

@loser Really? My husband and I call it that too! We say that Mackie is reading his p-mail.

leb0wski's avatar

@marina – I agree, great answer. It really is like a telephone pole…whoever walks by feels the need to post their “p-mail” over the last “message” that was left. It’s not that the dog doesn’t “know what their territory is,” it’s that your dog is making sure any other dogs that even get close know that it is his/her territory.

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jbcrail's avatar

Do dogs know not to mate with their siblings and/or parents?

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