Blog - Ground Scraping

It’s never just a dog walk…
I tend to get out and about with the boys a couple of times a day; walking them individually or as a pack, or doing some training with them. When Emrys got to around two and a half I became aware that, while still sharp on the whistle, was starting to range further than I like when he has some free time off lead.

When things start changing with the boys behaviour, like Emrys ranging on, I try to take the role of an observer, mentally taking a step back while I’m walking or training or ask Kenny to video what I’m doing to see if my behaviour/body language/posture is triggering something that I don’t particularly want.

Posturing and Scent Marking
It was acting as the observer that made me realise that Emrys is doing a lot of ritual scent marking pre-urination at the same point on the various walks, as well as after toileting, and regardless of whether he’s toileting or not, raking the ground with his claws leaving deep lines to indicate to all the other dogs that ‘this patch belongs to him’.

Dogs have scent glands on and between their pads, and, as well as leaving behind a visual clue with ground scratching (or ground scraping as it’s also known as), they’re also spreading over a wide surface area pheromones, which is one of the ways that they mark their territory. This is normally followed with a bit of posturing or peacocking, where the dog stands tall and proud with a kind of ‘look at me’ stance.

I never let my dogs stop and toilet when they’re walking to heel, on or off lead, as there’s simply no need (although when they’re young I give them regular toilet breaks), rather they have to wait until they have their free time off lead play to toilet and scent mark.

It’s always interesting to watch as it can tell you a lot about the ranking system and how it’s changing within the pack, who is toileting first, who is waiting, or who is overmarking, toileting beside, as well as ground scraping, all give indications to rank.

A dog’s urine gives so much information about the dog that leaves it; health, status, rough age (as in puppy, adolescent, adult), whether entire or neutered, and for females, where they are in their cycle.

And, if it’s up a tree or a lamp post rather than being spread over a wide area through ground scratching, it can indicate how big the dog is. Although there is something called false signalling in the behaviour world and you see lots of smaller dogs do it, where they stand on their front legs only, to get their wee higher up, or as was in Spud’s case, almost fall over trying to get their stream as high as possible, signalling that they are a much bigger dog than they actually are.

first published 31 January 2024

Blog - Ground Scraping

It’s never just a dog walk…
I tend to get out and about with the boys a couple of times a day; walking them individually or as a pack, or doing some training with them. When Emrys got to around two and a half I became aware that, while still sharp on the whistle, was starting to range further than I like when he has some free time off lead.

When things start changing with the boys behaviour, like Emrys ranging on, I try to take the role of an observer, mentally taking a step back while I’m walking or training or ask Kenny to video what I’m doing to see if my behaviour/body language/posture is triggering something that I don’t particularly want.

Posturing and Scent Marking
It was acting as the observer that made me realise that Emrys is doing a lot of ritual scent marking pre-urination at the same point on the various walks, as well as after toileting, and regardless of whether he’s toileting or not, raking the ground with his claws leaving deep lines to indicate to all the other dogs that ‘this patch belongs to him’.

Dogs have scent glands on and between their pads, and, as well as leaving behind a visual clue with ground scratching (or ground scraping as it’s also known as), they’re also spreading over a wide surface area pheromones, which is one of the ways that they mark their territory. This is normally followed with a bit of posturing or peacocking, where the dog stands tall and proud with a kind of ‘look at me’ stance.

I never let my dogs stop and toilet when they’re walking to heel, on or off lead, as there’s simply no need (although when they’re young I give them regular toilet breaks), rather they have to wait until they have their free time off lead play to toilet and scent mark.

It’s always interesting to watch as it can tell you a lot about the ranking system and how it’s changing within the pack, who is toileting first, who is waiting, or who is overmarking, toileting beside, as well as ground scraping, all give indications to rank.

A dog’s urine gives so much information about the dog that leaves it; health, status, rough age (as in puppy, adolescent, adult), whether entire or neutered, and for females, where they are in their cycle.

And, if it’s up a tree or a lamp post rather than being spread over a wide area through ground scratching, it can indicate how big the dog is. Although there is something called false signalling in the behaviour world and you see lots of smaller dogs do it, where they stand on their front legs only, to get their wee higher up, or as was in Spud’s case, almost fall over trying to get their stream as high as possible, signalling that they are a much bigger dog than they actually are.

first published 31 January 2024