Scent marking

Dogs gather essential social information using their sense of smell, whether smelling other dogs directly or by sniffing their urine and faeces.

Marking serves as a way to claim territory, advertise mating availability and to support the social order. A dogs society is based on hierarchy, it's what they understand. They communicate age, gender and status within their packs via the pheromones in their urine. Both male and female animals can engage in marking behaviour.

A dog uses urine marking to help make a new environment smell like home, masking unfamiliar odours with their own scent.

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

Establishing and protecting the territory serves as the primary animal priority. The territorial nature of a pack of wild dogs leads its members to claim an area large enough to support themselves and any offspring they have, but not one so large that it requires excessive energy to adequately defend it. Within that space a pack of dogs will also protect certain prime locations such as choice feeding sites and dens, and they will do so more diligently than areas at the periphery.

Pet dogs living in complex human environments may find themselves trying to reach some sort of a workable compromise between the ancient drive to establish and protect a territory, along with their own temperaments and physical limitations.

Under these circumstances, pets typically mark either that space they feel comfortable protecting or that which carries such a positive charge they'd risk injury or even death to protect it. In general, the less confident the dog and the more complex the environment, the more likely marking will occur, the more frequently it will occur, and the more it will involve intimate objects.