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Intact female constantly urine marking

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Any thoughts, experiences, suggestions, ideas welcome for managing obsessive urine marking by an intact female border collie.


I have a three-year old female border collie. One of her issues is constant urine marking. She is still intact and I am planning to spay her soon. I am not sure if spaying will lessen this behavior; it might be too ingrained by now? Since I don't have any plan of breeding her, I believe spaying her is a good thing to do whether or not her urine marking behavior lessens. We will find out one way or another anyway.


She doesn't mark indoors but when outside, she over-marks my other two dogs (neutered males, much older than her). She is highly distractible, very easy to get super-aroused and lose her mind, obsessive about water, and sensitive to new situations and people. She is also noise sensitive to a certain degree. At the same time, she can be bossy: She gets annoyed when my other dogs get in her way and she behaves "b**chy" toward one of my male dogs (much bigger standard poodle).


The usual situations she is sure to urine mark are: at agility class (not on equipment, but on the grass where other dogs peed. It doesn't have to be fresh; could be long time ago), out on a walk, and new and unfamiliar places.


We went to a herding lesson today. This was our first time at this place. She had some focus on sheep from time to time (not a sustained focus, though), but mostly she was unfocused and busy urine marking all over the big pen. She also rolled in the sheep poop at one time. :(


I think her urine marking is stress related. Not stressed in a fearful or scaredy-cat way, but in a "hyper-reactive to senses" way.


Any thoughts or similar experiences?

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My current sane and smart BC bitch is small but reasonably tough. She marks over pretty much all the males in the house except the elderly tri-pod. Nothing to do with reactivity or focus or stress. She's almost 10 and has been marking over any males in the household for some time.

In my other breed (Belgians), pretty much all the really good bitches urine-mark too, and often get into ***ssing contests with the males. One of my trainers way back when had the German National Agility champion who used to get into leg-lifting contests with her tall son. Gora would half climb a tree with her back legs to pee over her son's marks.


Urine-marking in bitches may run in certain lines but not in others. My experience has been that, out of dogs raised from puppyhood, the 2 tougher bitches I had marked over males pretty consistently and the one less tough marked ocassionally.

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TiIly scent marked as much as any male I've ever had, though not trying to hike up like others haven mentioned.


She wasn't at all bossy. On the contrary, she was probably the most conciliatory dog I've ever known. She could diffuse most tension with other dogs with just a look and posture.


ETA: Tilly was spayed at approx. 6 years of age right before I got her, after having had at least 3 litters.

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I think female marking, in particular, has more to do with the individual bitch than whether or not the bitch is spayed. Our Megan marks far more than either of our males ever have, and is more interested in scent markers, and she was spayed at around five months of age (before we got her). I think personality has a lot to do with it in males, as well.

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I doubt spaying would change a thing. She just sounds like a very active, busy, easily-aroused girl and spaying won't change her personality. If she's not making a mess of things in the house, I wouldn't worry about it. It's just who she is.

As for her behavior on sheep, it just sounds like maybe she's doesn't have a lot of working instinct, (or perhaps she was just very nervous) so she felt a little overwhelmed and wanted to distract herself and relieve a little stress. That's fairly typical in dogs who are uncertain about sheep, especially in a new place.

~ Gloria

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