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Thread: Amstaff Marking Inside the House

  1. #1

    Default Amstaff Marking Inside the House

    We have a 3yo American Staffy - Very much a people dog, clumsy, loyal, stubborn, has his "maniac moments", very excitable, extremely whingy and talkative.

    We had a baby 11 months ago. Since he started to crawl around at about 8 months, the dog has started marking on the wall, bed and baby's toys. He's done it about 6-7 times now, always in the same spots. We hardly ever catch him doing it, we just catch him running away with his head down looking very guilty. We growl and put him outside. We wash down the areas and spray vinegar over it - we've heard vinegar takes away the dog smell??...

    Our dog goes to obedience training every week (yeh, hard to believe!). He gets 2 walks per day and I think we've managed to treat him as the same dog as he was before baby came along. His areas havent changed - he's still not allowed on the carpet/bedrooms, which is the same now.

    We're very worried, we think he's feeling insecure and trying to remain "top dog" by marking his scent everywhere. He seems fine around the baby, he hovers around him, licks him, picks up his food, gets his ears pulled and doesnt seem to mind. Yes he growls if the baby does something silly, he's still a dog. He's an indoor dog - we keep his indoor bed away from baby so he's got "his space". Of course we pickup baby and pay more attention to him, but we're just not sure what to do.. How do we stop this???!!! Anybody got any ideas?? I've asked the trainers at obedience training and they just say pay him lots of attention, etc. Still not improving. What should we do???

  2. #2


    You let your 11 month old baby pick up the dogs food??

    Sorry but that is just plain stupid. Too many stories of babies getting mauled or dying because of silly parents. Amstaffs don't need the bad press.

    Please be more responsible. Just because you think nothing will happen and your dog has done nothing so far the ability for something to happen is there. You even said the dog growls at the baby when the baby does something silly.

  3. #3


    I think the dog picks up the baby's food? Unless I misunderstood?

  4. #4


    what??!! no, of course not!!! our baby is number one here. we NEVER allow him to be with the dog unsupervised. and no, he doesnt eat the dog's food.

    (the dog picks up leftovers of the baby's food that he throws off the highchair).

    back to the topic - any ideas for the dog's marking?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011


    Is he de-sexed?

    Does he have access to outside. I only ask this because with a young baby time can sometimes fly by and you suddenly realise that you haven't let the dog out for a few hours or are you really sure it territory marking?

    I'd limit the area he is allowed in. Only allow him in the house when you can watch him. It's no use punishing him after the act, you need to catch him in the act and remove him. And remember their noses are a million times more receptive to smell than ours so clean really well.

    Have you contacted his breeder for thoughts on the matter. After all they should know their breed well.
    Last edited by MAC; 07-23-2011 at 12:40 PM.

  6. #6


    Ok thanks for your advice.

    He was desexed when he was about 5-6 months old, and he's 3 years old now. He's always got outside access. We leave the door open for him so he comes and goes as he pleases. He has his kennel outside and his indoor bed, but he's an indoor dog during the day.

    I dont know if it's territory marking, if he's stressed or worried the only thing we imagine it to be is the baby crawling around now so thats what we put it down to.

    Don't snob me here but we got him from a pet store, not a breeder. I think there's an Amstaff club in Victoria or something, I'll try find it online and see if I can ask a breeder.

    Thanks for your help.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Southern NSW


    If I had that happening at home for whatever reason, I would go back to my favourite back-up. the umbilical system. Just for a few days/weeks I would only allow him inside when he is on lead attached to someone. It is a bit of a hassle, but a great way of getting things back to normal. It is time consuming, but just go out hourly or so and if he does what he does praise like mad. If he goes to lift his leg/mark, whilst you have him with you. That would be the only time you can tell him off, because you are there.
    Sometimes animals can get a little stressed, but just ignore most of it and try to fix it.
    Good Luck
    Pets are forever

  8. #8


    Sorry for the misunderstanding. Glad about that LOL.

    I have never had male dogs so can't really help.

    I would recommend possible getting a behaviouralist out as they may be able to give you a better idea of why your dog would be marking the babies stuff. Has the baby had accidents on the bed, toys etc that he is marking? Maybe he can smell the babies pee and that is why he is marking over it...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    I'd second newfsies' idea of the umblical cord system. Ie make it impossible for the dog to mark. And I know they're quick.

    Do not use bleach or amonia based products to clean up. You could use a spray bottle with 1 cup vinegar, 1 teaspoon lavendar oil (oil not essence), and topped up to 1 litre with water, spray the area and wipe off with a rag, and then spray again and wipe off with a different rag.

    You may need to get one of these UV light emmitters to make sure that you clean up all the spots of urine.

    ThinkGeek :: Doctor Who Sonic Screwdriver of the 10th Doctor
    (note: any uv light will do but not any sonic screwdriver)

    Keep the dog away from any place it has previously marked and do not let it sniff anything except its food inside the house.

    Good luck.

    If that doesn't work you may need to get a professional behaviourist / dog trainer in to teach you how to manage the problem. If you're in the Sydney area you could organise Steve from - if he's not convenient, ask him to recommend someone near you.

    Also I wouldn't bother growling at your dog if he does something wrong - he may see that as joining in or attention - both things will encourage him. And the worst thing you can do is teach him not to growl if he's upset - because that leads to attack without warning. You definitely want to stop him (and/or the child) from doing the naughty thing, but don't bother with the scolding or growling. "oops" in a neutral tone will let him know he's not going to get any reward from continuing.

    Focus on what you do want him to do ie lie and stay on his bed - no sniffing and marking, and reward him for that with attention and treats, starting off at frequent intervals (high rate of re-inforcement) and after a few days/weeks - slowly taper off to intermittant rate of reward. Try to reward before he gets bored and off the bed.

    This has an excellent video of how to train and build duration for a stay - focus on what she's doing with the dog, not so much what she's saying.
    Last edited by Hyacinth; 07-24-2011 at 03:10 PM.

  10. #10


    Ahhh, he did it again! Twice!!!! Grrr.

    The first time was when I got home, I let him inside and got the groceries from the car, walked into the kitchen and I saw him running out of our back room..... Hmm. I went straight in there, and yep, he'd peed on the edge of the bed/carpet/wall AGAIN.

    The second time, again I thought I smelt something funny and looked, same place in the back room. We keep the sliding door closed but might need to buy a latch for it, the dog's worked out how to slide it open with his nose.

    This is so frustrating! The majority of the time he's such a lovely dog, but then sometimes I just get so cranky at him, its hard to like him when he does this all the time.

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