Like most canines, whether wild or domesticated, Jack Russell Terrier’s tend to mark their territory.
Most achieve this method of ownership through their barking. They will bark at strangers or interlopers making sure that it is understood that they claim a specific area. However, some JRT’s male and female alike will take this claiming of territory to the next level by urinating on what they perceive to be their “turf”.
It is very important to understand that this type of urination habit is not one of a lapse in housebreaking. Your JRT is doing this action on purpose. To begin to take control of this annoying habit, you must first figure out what is triggering it to begin with.
To help in determining if your JRT is, in fact, marking its territory you will need to figure out if one of the symptoms below matches what is going on with your canine companion:
-The issue is solely with urination. Although some JRT’s have been known to mark with feces, more often than not this is not the issue.
-You are finding the urine on walls, cabinets or other vertical surfaces. This is from leg lifting which believe it or not females are known to do just as well as males in some cases. And, even if your female is not a leg lifter then she will still be squatting to mark her territory. The moral here is do not rule out your female from marking.
-Have you spayed or neutered your JRT? If not, more than likely you are experiencing a marking problem as intact males and females are more prone to marking than their spayed or neutered counterparts.
-Finding that your JRT may be urinating on new items brought into the house, such as furniture is also a symptom of marking. Also, if you find they are urinating on items with an unusual odor or might have the smell of another canine or feline, then they are most probably marking in this instance as well.
-If your JRT is not getting along particularly well with another animal in the household they may be resorting to what they would do in the wild. When one canine wants to exert dominance over another “pack” member, they will urinate and mark what they are claiming as their own.
-When you take your JRT for a walk and find that they are stopping frequently to lift their leg or squat, then rest assured they are marking. The thing about this is they will bring that behavior home with them and will be re-marking their own territory just to reassert their ownership.
Okay, so you are pretty sure, from the list above, that you have determined that your JRT is territorial marking. Now the question is how do you stop the behavior?
-Spay or neuter your JRT as the earliest time your veterinarian suggests because by doing so you decrease the possibility of territory making to occur. However, if you wait until too late in life, the very action may be ingrained in your JRT and spaying or neutering may not make a difference.
-Clean previously soiled areas and make them inaccessible and unattractive to your JRT. If the latter two are not possible, then recondition your companion to see that particular area in a new light. Love on them, play with them, and give them treats so that they may see it as a positive area and not one to mark in the future.
-Any articles that are of particular interest to your JRT to mark on, such as guest’s belongings or new purchases, keep these items inaccessible to your companion. Either place them up out of your JRT’s reach or stored in a closet or closed off room.
-If there is a new pet in the home, and they are not getting along with your JRT, try to mediate a truce. Also, keep your JRT away from doors and windows. If they are able to see other canines or animals they may feel compelled to territory mark as a result.
-Watch your JRT closely while indoors for signs they may be getting ready to urinate and mark. If for some reason you cannot watch them, consider confining them to a crate.
-If none of the above proves effective, then it may be that your JRT is marking out of anxiety. Consult with your veterinarian about the possibility of this being the cause, and a short term dose of anxiety prevention medication may help in clearing up the issue.
Territorial marking in JRT’s, as with most canine, is common and not unheard of. There are multiple reasons for the condition, and by determining the root of the problem you may better deter the annoying behavior. Just keep in mind that most times your JRT is not aware they are doing something you do not like, and it will take time, patience, and understanding on your part to help them to move past this condition.