View Full Version : Marking in the House

8th December 2007, 06:46 PM
Hello all!

Well, our two new boys are here! Both are 4 years old, one neutered and the other not. Apparently they both will mark in the house, and so must wear belly bands to stop them from getting everything all soaking. We will hopefully be getting the non neutered one neutered within the next few weeks, but they are both way underweight, so we might have to hold off until they are healthier.

How do we train them out of marking the house when they've been doing it for four years? Is it futile to try to train them out of it before they are both neutered? We really don't want our Jasper to start marking too, just because they are, as he has never done that inside before.

Any products you would recommend, perhaps to spray on the carpet to discourage them? Techniques on getting them to stop? We are at a loss with this one!

8th December 2007, 08:50 PM
Here's some advice:


However, having three males may make this harder I'd think --they tend to especially want to make territory in front of other males, especially the intact male. You'll need to be careful on that count alone -- friction between dogs tends to happen when you get two or more of a single sex but three can make conflict far more likely, especially two dogs that know each other ganging up on a third they don't know. Just be very cautious about leaving your cavalier alone with the other two as well -- I don't know if I'd ever be willing to leave three males on their own together; I'd be separating them out I think or crating. Maybe some of the breeders here with several males can offer a viewpoint but I know I'd be extra careful with that many males. I know that's probably not what you want to hear. Have you spoken to a professional trainer about taking in three together like this? Are they rescues and did the rescue talk you through adding two males to an existing male? I know many feel cavaliers are less confrontational than many breeds when getting more than one dog of a sex, but I'd definitely be careful.

9th December 2007, 06:05 AM
Thank you for the link, Karlin, I appreciate it. They are not from a rescue, they came from a woman who at one time had 7 cavaliers and who now has ailing parents, two homeschooled children, and a husband, as well as other assorted animals in her home. We aren't really certain we are being told 100% of the story regarding the dogs, and we haven't technically adopted them permanently yet, we took them for a week to see how they interacted with Jasper, to have them looked at by our vet and to get their vet to send ours their information so that we could be aware of any health situations.

We haven't as yet spoken with a professional trainer, and truthfully we don't know what to expect with three dogs together in a house, as we've only ever had the one. As of now they seem to be entirely ignoring Jasper, though inspecting him on occasion. The two of them have had some conflict, as one of the boys is very territorial about any treats or toys that he has, though suprisingly skittish and submissive around people. There is some growling, and was one incident where the treat guarding dog knocked the other over for approaching his treat.

My mother (whose dogs they technically would be) is not really wanting to have to give them back, as she feels they were in a bad situation as they are both under weight to the point that ribs can easily be counted and whatnot.

Other than the weight issue they don't seem to be dogs that have been mistreated or ignored, they both play, want attention, come to their names, sit, stay, lay down, settle, and wait, as well as fetch (something Jasper never learned). They like to be petted and are very crate trained. As of now we are feeding them in their crates so that Jasper has a chance at eating, as they'll finish their food in 2 minutes and be after his. They will be crated when left alone, but my mom is home during the days as she has fibromyalsia, so it won't be very often.

We're scheduled for the vet on Tuesday, so we'll see what he says. Our vet is very good with Cavaliers, and is very thorough and straightforward.

Thank you all for any advice or feedback you may have.

9th December 2007, 11:37 AM
I don't want to totally scare you but at the same time this is a situation where I personally wouldn't have put two more males in with a single male just out of caution if I were placing rescues, and there is the possibility you might need to split the new two and rehome one elsewhere (this I know is what my certified trainer friends Tara and Lisa would do in such a case).

I get occasional scraps as is between my two boys -- none of the others ever fight. :rolleyes: If some of our breeders see this they will have better perspective!

Bruce H
9th December 2007, 01:34 PM
I've been thinking about this since I saw it yesterday. I'll try to address some of the issues based on my experience with multiple boys in the house and the boys that we dog-sit for.

I think you may always have problems with marking, even after the one is neutered. Hard to tell for sure since all dogs are different. It's an instinctive thing with dogs when there are other males around. With one male you would have a chance of correcting the marking, but with two, well, a lot tougher. I honestly don't know if I would want to take on what you are. And if I were a betting man, I would say there's a good chance Jasper may start marking in response to the new boys. The only time we have serious problems with marking is when one of our girls is in season, but even when no one is in season, there is an occaisional marking. Just one of the "hazards" of being a breeder with multiple boys.

IMHO, the conflict is what I would be most concerned about. I would suggest that you absolutely never let them be loose together without close supervision. That may be especially tough with 2 of the 3 being new. Treat and toy guarding can be especially dangerous. When you hear the growling start, immediately separate them; if they actually start to fight, you could very easily get bit trying to separate them. In fact, I would say don't give them treats unless they are separated; our dogs only get treats when they are in their crates to avoid conflict. And definately feed them separately in crates. If they start growling over a toy, take the toy away regardless of who had it first. Again, be careful about taking a toy away from a dog, especially the new ones.

We have also found that our boys seem to be focused more on us, their people. When the boys are on the couch with us we have to be careful about giving equal petting time, as one of them especially seems to get jealous if you pet one and not him as much as he thinks is necessary. The girls don't seem to have this issue.

I really do hate to say it, but I think if I were you, I would bring one of the boys back. The sooner the better before you fall in love with them. Bringing one new adult boy into the house will be a challenge, but 2 may be a bit more of a challenge than you think. I hope this makes some sense to you; maybe one of the other breeders will also come on here with some additional advice. Good luck with whatever you decide!

9th December 2007, 03:33 PM
One other option is to place one of the boys with breed rescue (all the regional contacts are pinned at the top of the breed rescue section here) -- I would do that rather than return them to a questionable situation. Just as an aside, did the breeder leave them in belly bands all the time? This is not a very good permanent solution -- they can get infections from having their urine contained in a damp environment like that; most breeders use belly bands just s short terms solutions for times when a girl is in heat or if there's a visiting boy etc.

Bruce H
9th December 2007, 03:45 PM
Good thought Karlin. Be sure to see what the contract says, if anything, about rehoming. Our contract would not allow that without our permission.

9th December 2007, 04:08 PM
I think training two boys CAN be done at the same time, but it is like getting two pups at once (it seems more than twice as difficult).

I would get two crates (if you don't have them now) and feed, treat etc... while in the crate. Make the crate a good, safe place for them to relax.(use of kongs etc... can help) Even if someone is home,(imo) two boys can't be watched well enough all the time to do successful training. I would restrict their access to most of the home, until they are house trained.

Almost three years ago, I kept 4 boys from a litter until they were over 6 months old-- they went to their new homes house trained. We had to become very structured, we had crates for all four- we used positive reinforcement.

9th December 2007, 07:06 PM
Well, we didn't get them from a breeder but from a woman who had previously gotten them from two different breeders. They both have crates and do very well with them, eat, sleep, treats, naps, general resting time, etc. They are both calming down already and seem to be settling in. Yes, she kept them in the belly bands at all times, which we don't really like. We've been putting sanitary napkins in the bands so that we can switch them out if the get damp. The neutered boy has already stopped having problems and has been dry every time we've checked today. Hopefully once the other is neutered he will follow suit. Jasper has shown no inclination to mark at all, partially I think because he can't so easily lift his leg anymore, what with the fluid in his abdomen.

I appreciate all of the feedback so far, and hopefully we'll find a way for this to work out.

We've been putting them out everytime Jasper has to go, which is often because of his health. Jasper rings a set of bells we have by the door when he wants to go out, and the boys have already picked that up from him. Unfortunately they don't really seem to know what they are supposed to do when put out in the backyard, as they apparently weren't sent out because there was no fence at their old home. That is okay though, we've got all the training manuals out and can rehousebreak them pretty quickly.

11th December 2007, 08:41 AM
Ok, I'm going to be the one out of step here. :p

I've had multiple dogs for almost all of my life and I've never had problems with males marking inside of the house. We currently have a male Boxer & 2 male Cavaliers, none of which are neutered. We also have never had fights among males. The only fights we had (which were extremely rare) were among bitches when they were in season.

I am not saying that males do not fight and I am not saying that males do not mark inside of the house. What I am saying is that I don't think anybody can predict that your males will fight or that they will mark inside of the house long term.

If you had an intact female there as well, I'd possibly say differently, but honestly I just do not see 2 intact males a problem.

When we adopted Sonny (at aged 2 yrs) we put a belly band on him for a couple of weeks to play it safe, and he did pee in it a few times. He was not an inside dog when we got him so his houstraining was minimal. However since those first few weeks he has never marked inside of the house, nor has Beau or Sam.

I am thinking that provided you are willing to put in some time & effort with the housetraining, you'll get there. That's my 0.2c worth.

Daisy's Mom
11th December 2007, 05:08 PM
This thread is very interesting to me because I just fostered an unneutered male Cavalier last week (and his "wife" who we thought was pregnant). It was my first experience with an intact male, and I have been wondering how in the world anyone keeps unneutered males in a house! We had a male poodle growing up, and he never marked in the house (at least not ON things), BUT he was neutered at the earliest possible age. I have been wondering whether it is really possible for an unneutered male to not mark in the house.

With this little guy we fostered, we would take him outside and he would pee on top of the girl's pee every single time, plus some other times and then we would bring him inside and he would try to mark 30 seconds later! (We had a belly band on him at all times he was out of his crate, thank goodness!) I would say AH, AH, AH! loudly at him and put him outside when he did it, but it sure seemed like a losing battle with him since he was clearly not motivated by the need to relieve himself, but by the desire to mark. He would look at me like "What?" So I've been curious about the issue lately. Not that I will ever have an unneutered male dog of my own, but I might have another temporary foster in the future.

I know how to housetrain a girl or a puppy, but I am just wondering how in the world you would go about training an adult intact male.

11th December 2007, 05:37 PM
It can be really hard because it is a hardwired intact male activity. You can usually train in your own house with some really focused training but you are right, the problem is that this behaviour has nothing to do with the dog just relieving itself -- it is hormonally driven and is a normal intact male activity. So it is different from housetraining a puppy. What often happens is that eventually after the male is in the new home for a while it gets corrected and at the same time it also gets used to the house as its home and feels it doesn't need to mark any longer. Most male fosters will stop eventually but unfortunately this can in part be driven by the fact that they have marked so many times already... :eek:.

I've found there's usually about a 1-2 weeks period that intact or newly neutered males keep trying to mark in a foster or new home. It can take several weeks for neutering to make a difference and the testosterone to exit the system (and it doesn;t make a difference in about a third of cases -- so either way, it is wise to train and not rely on neutering). However another hassle with intact males is that even if you housetrain them to your house and they don't mark there, they will often happily lift a leg when you take them inside anywhere else, making them hard to board and hard to bring along as visitors. Most people I know who do home boarding won't take intact males.

I have never had a single intact rescue male in my house that hasn't tried to mark.

12th December 2007, 01:32 AM
Well, we took them both to the vet for a check in today and they've been told to gain 2-4 pounds each! We've also scheduled for the unneutered male to be neutered next week. They've both come leaps and bounds since we got them, and I'm really not concerned at this point with them getting along. They're very intelligent and have had conciderable amounts of training in the past, so its a matter of reminding them.

One already doesn't mark, and Jasper hasn't tried, so hopefully when the neuter is done and things have settled down he'll not take too long to learn. Thank you all for your replies and opinions. This board is such a good resource!

12th December 2007, 02:59 AM
However another hassle with intact males is that even if you housetrain them to your house and they don't mark there, they will often happily lift a leg when you take them inside anywhere else, making them hard to board and hard to bring along as visitors.
Yes,this is what Titch does.
Hes never marked indoors but constantly states every lamppost as his when we`re out it drives me potty(scuse the pun!)
Even patches of weeds over the field are not safe!

I can only take him to my mums now and even then I have to watch him like a hawk until he gets fed up of being followed everywhere and not being allowed in bedrooms or bathrooms he lays down under the kitchen table - what fun,he can do that at home :rolleyes:

After an unfortunate experience with a friends curtains and christmas tree last year :eek: I just cannot risk taking him to anybody elses house at the mo

He is still intact and is scheduled to be nuetered early next year and I am crossing my fingers that helps.:)

14th December 2007, 03:46 AM
:eek: Oh my god, I should have kept my great mouth shut. :eek:

I found a pee inside the house. I've jinxed myself with my mouth. Arrrrrgh!

17th December 2007, 11:12 PM
Uh oh Caraline! :lol:

On new dogs -- just be aware that how dogs behave in the first couple of weeks is not necessarily a sign of how they will behave later on. Most dogs arriving into a new home are quite subdued as they find their feet and slowly gain confidence. The time when you begin to see their real personality is after two weeks minimum, to a month or so and this will continuously change. As Bruce noted, it is not a very good idea to leave a group of males alone together, ever. Two will usually find a balance but as soon as you introduce a third, the dynamics totally change and two can and will gang up and go for one, and things can go from calm to vicious in the blink of an eye (I have had this happen a few times just with two males). I'd keep the two boys on their own, and your existing fellow on his own, or all separately crated, when you are not there with them. Problems tend to emerge over time as their roles shift and this is very likely to happen with three or more, whereas with two of a sex, they generally decide very quickly who fits where and that is that, often for a lifetime. It's always a good idea to be extremely cautious.

18th December 2007, 12:08 AM
Yes, you are right about keeping them seperated! We certainly do that whenever we aren't able to watch them. They are very nicely crate trained, as they've spent pretty much the last year of their lives in their crates, except for 4 walks a day. :( We crate them for food and for treats as well and watch them very closely when they are out in the yard all together. We crate them even if we have to leave the room for a few minutes, as we don't trust them with each other or Jasper. Luckily, my mom is home almost all of the time as she has fibromyalsia and can't do too much. It has been interesting watching them interact with each other and family members for the last week and a half though, its so fun to see them getting more at home each day!

No, the situation isn't ideal, but they are doing very well and are already showing signs of gaining some healthy muscle again. The non fixed boy is getting neutered on wednesday, poor thing! Hopefully that will ease things for him a little, but you just never can predict ahead of time.

18th December 2007, 08:12 PM
I have lived with multiple unneutered male cavaliers for over 20 years and I have not had any problems with marking or fights even when I have had unneutered males of different breeds staying with me. My boys were also used to going on holiday with me to different cottages and I didnt have problems then either.