Running Away from Home and Marking Territory in Dogs

Dogs communicate with other dogs in several different ways. Using scent is one of those methods. Each dog has a unique smell to its urine and feces. Urination or defecation of dogs in specific places is a sign of territory marking – the act of telling other dogs that particular area belongs to this specific dog. Territorial marking in male dogs takes place around puberty time while for females, this behavior is seen around the time they go into their heat for the first heat. 

Marking serves as a way to claim territory, advertise mating availability and to support the social order. A dog uses urine marking to help make a new environment smell like home, masking the unfamiliar odors with his own scent.

On reaching puberty, dogs are more likely to roam around and stray away from home. This is called roaming. Dogs will roam to find mates, to explore, and to mark their territory. Dogs that are not spayed or neutered are more likely to roam and mark territory than dogs that have been neutered or spayed. 

In addition, marking functions as an efficient way to protect a dog's perceived space than physically challenging each interloper who approaches that space.

Animals also mark to advertise their sexual availability, which is one reason why it helps to neuter and spay dogs. The earlier, the better, since early neutering can keep young dogs from ever developing the impulse to mark.

Roaming, on the other hand, means that the dog wanders or runs about the roads, farms and neighborhoods. Such dogs can get into fights with wild animals or other dogs, get hit by vehicles, get shot or get picked up and used by illegal dog fighting operations. Male dogs will roam for variety of reasons, but mostly because they are bored or that they smell a female dog in heat. Male dogs can smell a female dog in season from more than a mile away. Other reasons for roaming include visiting other dogs in the neighborhood, chasing prey animals like squirrels or fear of the owner

Signs of marking and roaming are


Dog urinates or defecates in a specific area that it has chosen

Owner may not approve of the chosen area

Can occur on a horizontal surface, such as the ground

Can occur on vertical or upright surface, such as a wall or bush


Wandering away from home

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