By Victoria Stilwell
Scent marking is a very normal and common behavior particularly in male dogs but becomes a big problem when marking occurs in the home. Dogs mark to advertise their presence or to claim territory and resources. Pheromones in urine and feces contain chemical messages that pass on information about the marker such as age, sex, health and reproductive status. Even though urination has a competitive component, it can also occur if a dog is over stimulated, for example, during or after vigorous play, or if a dog becomes anxious in a particular situation, such as when a person leaves. This common expression of anxiety in dogs is often mistaken for spite, resulting in punishment which only serves to increase anxious behavior.