Marking

If you have a dog who is marking, the issue at hand is bigger than simple confusion. Your dog believes that your home is his domain, and it is his duty to mark and protect his territory. Included in his repertoire may be protective barking, an approach-avoid display for company, or an occasional growl when he feels you're out of line. If the situation has advanced this far, ask your veterinarian to help you find a professional who can assist you in breaking this habit.

If marking is truly your only issue, try these tips:

• Isolate your dog in your home. Use a crate or the leading techniques outlined on page 82.

• Do not let your dog mark your neighborhood—he's bringing the same habit indoors. Teach him to mark outside your home, and then walk him at a HEEL around the neighborhood.

• Work on WAIT at all doors, elevators, etc. leading into and out of your home. See page 80.

Training your dog to wait at all doors will aid in your fight against marking.

My dog is marking, all right, but he is also very nervous when away from the house and when people visit. Why is this?

Your dog is on a head trip, and you can help him. The lack of direction and structure in your home has prompted him, very much by default, to consider himself your leader. He neither looks to your direction when the environment changes nor relaxes with new people because he is not mentally equipped for this role. Marking is just another behavior that reinforces his position, though he has no interest in leading. To resolve the issue, you need to train him to watch you for direction and to listen to you when you're away from the home. Containment and supervision are necessary to curb the marking, but structure and training are a must to give him the overall sense that he can follow, not lead.

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How you handle your nipping dog depends on his age. Young puppies nip to convey their needs (see page 64) and because they're curious and interactive. Older pups and dogs continue to nip in order to boss or convey rank, or because they think of their owner as more of a playmate than a leader. Techniques that encourage shoving a hand down a dog's throat or clamping the mouth shut are cruel and most dogs retaliate by becoming more aggressive or assertive in play.

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