Creating one or more "pee posts" outdoors in your yard as urination targets for your dog can help in housebreaking, can help in re-training an indoor "marker", and can encourage your dog to urinate in an area within your yard that you find convenient rather than some other area.
While most people assume it is only male dogs who "leg lift" to urinate, quite a few female dogs also do this. No, Caitlin, dogs don't have gender identify issues, at least I don't think they do (it's really unprovable either way) It's usually the fairly dominant bitches who "leg lift." but not necessarily so.
All you really need is a large wooden dowel or a trimmed tree branch, Or you can create something humorous and artistic, such as a fire hydrant sculpture.
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The purpose of an outdoor "pee post" in your yard is to encourage your dog (male dog or leg-lifting female dog) to do most of his (or her) urination in a place or place that you consider convienient rather than in other places that you'd consider less appropriate. Your yard may of course already contain one or more natural pee posts, in which case you may not want to add any
You can do this step at the same time you begin your housebreaking regime Indeed if you are raising a male puppy or are adopting a more mature male dog, erect some "pee posts" before that dog moves in or soon after.
If this whole idea seems strange or weird to you, consider that it's a standard part of good cat keeping to provide a cat with a "scratching post" (ideally a vertical one and a horizontal one) and encourage the cat to use it as a way of directing the cat away from sharpening its claws (a necessary cat behavior) on your furniture.
I would not consider a "pee post" to be an essential part of dog care, but your dog may enjoy it , and it could be a useful part of re-housebreaking a dog who has been "marking" indoors. Indeed , I came up with the notion of adding outdoor urination targets while I was advising an owner on redeeming her neutered male dog's habit of "marking" indoors, a behavior that was part of the reason she wanted to get him adopted out but a behavior that would be unacceptable to most potential adopters..
Of course if after having a "pee post" for a while , you find you don't like it or your dog (adult male) never uses it, it's easy to remove it. Also easy to change its location.
A natural "pee post" is simply any kind of vertical bush or tree that is located in a part of your yard where you would be happy to have your dog urinate. Maybe your yard already has several natural bushes or trees that would serve this purpose, and if so merely encourage your dog to use them by praising him when you see him do so. When bringing a new dog into your home, you may want to pre-scent this natural post with some dog urine. Of course if you have another male dog, he's done this for you.
If your yard lacks any natural "pee posts" or if you want one in another location, you can create one or more "pee posts" simply by buying a wooden dowel ( at least 1 "diameter, 2" to 3" might be ideal, and 3 feet or more long) and sharpening one end, then driving it into the ground several inches (6" or more deep) so it is well anchored. Because dogs tend to want to mark around the boundaries of home territory, I'd suggest putting posts near the corners of your yard with enough room all around it so the dog can walk around and take any position. I suggest wood because it holds scent well and is readily available and easy to work with. It won't last forever, but it can be replaced when nescessary. Of course if you can get a natural lopped off tree limb , you can trim it up a bit (to remove side-ways projections that could cause injuries if run into) and plant it as a post. That's probably more attractive to your eyes but your dog probably won't care.
If your yard is all cement or brickwork, ie if you cannot drive a post into the ground, then either mount your post onto a large plywood base or get an Xmas tree holder as your base. (And if it's Xmas season, grab a discarded Xmas tree to trim up to become your post) You can make the post more of a marking target if you annoint it with dog urine.
Annoint the post with dog urine, probably the lower half of the post, so it catches your dog's attention. Either capture some of your own dog's urine or ask a friend to capture some from their own dog or visit the dog park with some containers. Male dog urine is probably the most provocative to another male (I have no idea if human urine would work or not, but that would be an interesting experiiment : annoint one post with dog urine and antother with human urine, set up a security camera to observe results for you.)
Take your male dog (or leg-lifting inclined female dog) out to the yard to any of the posts at a time when he is likely to need to urinate, gesture towards the urine annointed post to encourage him to sniff, and when he squirts the post (or ground near it) praise him lavishly and give him several small treats.
By the way , one of my adopter couples are a retired fireman and his wife (who is a fire prevention educator) and they have an actual cast off fire hydrant in his yard. They have used the hydrant as the center of a fountain, which is an outdoor drinking source for their dogs, but one could just as easily be used as a "pee post".
As to how you might obtain a used fire hydrant , my adopters report as follows .
Actually, the water & hydrant system is run by the local Water District. So, if someone was interested in an old hydrant they could contact their local water district. They frequently have old or outdated hydrants that they might sell. Occasionally I have seen them for sale in the newspaper. They are not very difficult to come by, unless you want a specific manufacturer or style, or a really old one. BTW - they are fairly heavy.
A friend of ours has a hydrant in her backyard garden for decoration. But she painted it white & black like a Dalmatian. I'll try & get you a photo for your article.
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