4th of July Redux and MarkOut®

This blog is getting so old I’m posting a 2nd time about 4th of July. Yes, it’s that time of year again when fireworks are looming on the horizon. The firefighters battling fires in the Lake Tahoe are aren’t the only ones who are probably aghast at the plans to go ahead and set off fireworks out there on the 4th assuming the fire is under control.

So anyway, as the cobbler’s children often don’t have shoes, just because I’m a dog trainer doesn’t mean I don’t come upon the occasional dog behavior conundrum.

My boy Bean


is by all accounts a great dog. He’s loyal, and true and affectionate. Laid back but ready to go wherever at a moment’s notice. He comes when I call him, sits, stays, walks great on a leash, has default behaviors that work great in an active home and is nice on the eyes.

But I waited until he was 18 months old before I neutered him in the delusional belief I might breed him. I neutered him when I did because he had started a marking habit I attributed to raging hormones. I also realized I have no business getting into the world of breeding, no matter how great a dog I thought he was and is. So now Bean, who will be 4 on the 9th of July, has a marking habit of over 2 years. A pretty entrenched habit.

I have been in occasional denial; there have been periods of inactivity. It’s one thing that every morning and before bedtime I let him out on the front lawn to mark the treelawn tree (and a few other spots if he’s in the mood/need) and on walks he’s marking stone markers, bushes, poles, trees and even tall grass spots and fence posts (but only when off leash, on leash he’s trotting right at my side). It’s another thing altogether that he marks on cardboard boxes, paper bags or other “things” INSIDE MY HOUSE.

It doesn’t happen in other houses or businesses I take him to because I manage him every minute (I believe if left unsupervised, he’d absolutely mark in most situations) and I have successfully helped clients resolve the problem but it wasn’t until now I decided to get really serious and FIX the problem.

I had made homemade belly bands for him before and had him wear them occasionally but I was erratic in my use and the need to wash them frequently caused me to be inconsistent.

So I went online and did some research and purchased a Mark Out ® Kit. The kit includes 3 ace bandage like wraps and a booklet/training manual. The creator is a trainer named Karyn Garvin and I think her book is brilliant. Short, concise, clear, to the point. Much of what I try to communicate to my own clients. And I had a pretty clear idea before reading it what I have to do to really get a handle on this boy’s indoor marking (the other dogs blessedly do not have this problem!) and I’m ready to start.

But, and here’s where it comes in handy for 4th of July. To those of you with sound phobic dogs for whom lightening storms and fireworks create panic with all its accompanying behavioral responses, at the very end of this booklet she says this:

“If you have ever known a dog that suffers from a fear of thunderstorms, then you also know how traumatic in can be. It is the noise that sends them into a panic. It makes sense! Deaden the noise, and calm the dog. New Techniques to MarkOut® Fear of Thunderstorms

Step 1: Use an eyedropper to put a few drops of mineral oil in each of your dog’s ears.
Step 2: Put a couple of cotton balls in each ear

Step 3: Wrap a MarkOut® wrap around your dog’s head to hold everything in place.

Step 4: Watch your frightened dog relax.
Remember to share this idea with your friends. It works.”

And I believe her. So I’m sharing. I think it’s brilliant!