There are all sorts of evolutionary and biological explanations and guesses for why dogs love to pee on stuff. Some dogs mark more than others, some seem more interested in sniffing than others, but in general its safe to say that peeing matters to dogs.
Let’s think about what’s happening when one dog pees and another dog sniffs. All kinds of information is being transferred. Here are some guesses…
- Age/profile/biological status of the dog
- Hormone levels regarding stress, reproductive status, etc.
- Hints of actual food recently eaten.
- Where they live
- When they exercise
What if “marking” is pretty much social media for dogs? A way of knowing more about those in your network (neighborhood)?
The term “marking his territory” seems pretty straightforward. Maybe dogs are walking around and just saying “this tree is mine… this fire hydrant is mine,” but I suspect the instinct actually relates to leaving and gathering information that previously was really important for survival.
Of course learning about possible reproduction, competition, and food sources is no longer necessary for our pet dogs, but the instincts are alive. These potty habits that used to be a survival skill are now a pastime.
Whether you’re someone who enjoys scrolling social media, or you’re more of a walk in the park kind of person doesn’t matter to your dog because he probably loves both. I encourage everyone when taking a walk to let their dogs pee on all the (appropriate) stuff, and do as much sniffing as time allows. “Reading the news” is a healthy hobby for dogs and lucky for our them they don’t have to watch their screen time, they had it figured out long before we had the internet.