Sunday, April 2, 2017

How to Discourage Dogs From Urinating on Trees

Urinating on trees is a natural behavior for dogs, especially for male dogs. If this behavior becomes problematic, you can train your dog to avoid urinating in the undesired location. Using positive reinforcement and negative punishment methods creates a clear distinction to your dog between the urination behavior you want and that which you don't. Repetition and consistency play a role in the effectiveness of this training method, so be patient and give your dog time to learn.



    Select a location outdoors where you want your dog to urinate, such as a patch of mulch, a corner of the backyard, a fire hydrant or another place you deem appropriate. Choosing a location away from any trees is helpful. A lack of trees in the "potty" spot will help your dog generalize all trees as the wrong potty place.


    Attach the leash and collar to your dog so that you have control.


    Walk your dog around the appropriate urination area. Give it enough time to smell the area and to urinate.


    Reward your dog as soon as it urinates in this location with treats and praise. This will create a connection in your dog's mind that urinating here results in a positive reaction from you. This is known as positive reinforcement.


    Walk your dog to a nearby tree, allowing it to sniff and investigate the area. Give lots of praise and treats if your dog investigates the tree but does not start to perform pre-urination behaviors such as circling, or leaning its hind-end toward the tree. This is positive reinforcement of the absence of a certain behavior. Repeat this step with as many different trees in different locations as possible.


    Lead your dog gently away from the tree before it begins to urinate if you notice the pre-elimination behaviors. Don't yell at your dog or punish it. Your lack of reaction and the lack of reward helps your dog understand that nothing exciting happens when it attempts to urinate on the tree, which is known as negative punishment. The "punishment" is the absence of reward following a certain behavior.


    Return to the appropriate urination spot and encourage your dog to go there. Every time it urinates in this spot, excitedly praise and reward your dog. Your dog learns that performing a desired behavior always results in rewards.

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