Behavioral Questions About Male Dogs

Don't let male dog behavior keep Fido in the doghouse.
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Puppyhood ends too soon. As your male dog reaches puberty, cantankerous canine hormones can bring out a king-of-the-hill attitude. Knowing what's normal, combined with patience and behavior modification techniques, are the keys to correcting typical male dog behavioral problems.

Who’s the Boss?

Your once-precious pup can vie for man-of-the-house authority as he reaches adulthood. This dominating behavioral problem is found in both sexes, but it's more pronounced in male dogs. If Fido’s feistiness lands him in the doghouse on a regular basis, contact a professional trainer that specializes in aggressive and dominant dog issues. Behavior-correcting techniques can help Fido realize that you’re still the boss.

Mixed-Up Mating

It’s your worst fear – that your mother-in-law will come to dinner and your dog will try to mate with her leg. Mounting behavior can be hormone-driven, or it can be a method for establishing dominance. While it’s normal, it’s not a good idea to let it continue when humans are the mating target, because it can lead to aggression.


A male dog can smell a female dog in heat from a block away. His drive for romance can lead him off the porch and down the lane, looking for love. Keep a leash handy, as even a short jaunt from your front door to the car gives Romeo ample time to escape if he’s so inclined. Don't count on a fence to keep Romeo in, especially if he's a voracious digger or jumper.

Urinating and Marking His Territory

Male puppies squat to urinate, just like their female counterparts, but around the time of puberty, they switch to leg lifting. Once Fido learns this trick, nothing higher than 6 inches is safe. If you notice your dog urinating just a little bit on every bush, tree or mailbox in sight, he’s marking his territory. This normal, but annoying, behavior is par for the course. Instead of trying to second-guess nature, put a fence around your flowerbed to protect it.

Taming Toto

Your dog is less likely to be a victim of his hormones if you have him neutered before he reaches puberty. Discuss the behavioral and health benefits of sterilization with your vet. Hormones, however, do not drive all behavioral problems, so it pays to combine neutering with behavior modification techniques.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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