While taking a break from playing with the whippet, I spot Rio peeing on the toy. The coffee cup that I am holding in my other hand prevents me from reaching towards it in an effort to stop her from continuing peeing on it because at some point during the game I am going to have to hold on to this messy toy!
I claim defeat as I am trying to figure out why Rio peed on the toy. She has never done this before. I then remember that I had taken it with me to a training just a few days back. Ahh, I think to myself that is probably the reason why.
Behaviors like this have intrigued researchers for years and today, it intrigues me. Why now? I have taken the toy to many, many sessions. The thing is, I will probably never know.
What research do know today is the many reasons why dogs mark with bodily fluids and indeed their many possible uses.
As Alexandra Horowitz mentioned in her book: Inside of a Dog, Konrad Lorenz- the early 20th century ethologist pronounced that dogs urinate to mark territory. However, more recent studies have discredited Lorenz hypothesis as being the main reason or the only reason why dogs urinate in certain spots. It is now believed that dogs may indeed mark their territory but more likely their urine markings serve as a rich form of communication between dogs way beyond mine and yours…
Yes indeed, both sexes mark. Their markings similar in their function as our modern “text”: I was here … how is it going? Are you ready for sex??? Yes! You are…
Horowitz also mentioned that based on the observation of sniffing dogs, it is believe that the chemicals found in the urine are indicators of female’s readiness for mating, and in the case of males their social confidence.
It is also interesting to note, that based on observations of markings made by free-ranging dogs, only about 20% of them were “territorial” – that is markings on the “boundary” of a territory. Markings also changed by seasons, and events such as scavenging and courting related behaviors.
Horowitz continues on to explain that it is believed that more than the marking of territory, dogs can learn quite a bit about each other as a result of urine markings and deposits.
Another important function of marking is the sharing of information with other canines about one’s whereabouts. Ah! The canine-selfy as in: Look where I was this weekend…
As such, the scent of the one who peed last becoming the predominant one with other previous markings relegated to the status of having [just] a nice weekend at home!