Male Dog Syndrome

The first person who coined the term, male dog syndrome, was, in fact a landscape architect, a guy! I worked with who  had a similar sense of humor; he had worked for big and famous firms in the 80’s and had, unfortunately, been laid off multiple times. During the course of all these so called design projects  as a junior staffer he experienced the marking behavior. Oddly enough, this guy has been really successful in his own right and is probably peeing on bushes in the Western United States as we speak.

As a dedicated Greyhound fan, I usually have a couple of dogs around. Dogs do some weird things that would not have occurred to me prior to having dogs. Many of these peculiarities are urinary based.

My first Greyhound, Butler, was a male dog and having worked with men primarily for years in design and construction I was aware of “male dog syndrome” In life and business the last male to pee on the bush is King. And all the princes must pee on it as well. After twenty or thirty years, this gets tiresome in all respects; perhaps not to the men. I feel that, for men this is probably a lifetime dilemma. Even  Gen X and Millenial men must do this. I will have to say this slays me as it is totally counterproductive.  And then there is the ‘measuring’..

At least dogs don’t do that. On the other hand, it could be related.

One cold winter night around 2 am, Butler came into the bedroom, whining a bit and woke me up. I thought “Oh, he will be OK for a while he just went out” He came back in a bit later and proceeded to pee all over the foot of the bed and carpet. Oops, of course, I should have gotten up and let him out, but it was Thanksgiving, my parent’s fiftieth wedding anniversary and we were having 15 or 20 people over for dinner shortly.  I had been trying to live up to my southern cooking heritage all day and was exhausted. Thank God for the enzymatic carpet cleaner.

In the garden Butler had issues with anything Juniper scented. I suppose it it fortunate I detest Gin. My favorite Landscape Contractor had been singing the praises of Hinoki Cypress shrubs for years, so I decided to buck up and buy a big one as they are sort of slow growing. I am usually frugal in the purchase of plant material because, well, sometimes I forget about water and stuff. And I must always cope with my cheap Scotch heritage. This time I paid $150.00 for a really nice shrub not considering Butler’s Juniper issues. It was, in fact, a Cypress.

I suppose I should mention Butler was inevitably so intent on marking everything he often ran out of pee. Which was very frustrating for him, but really comical to watch. He would stand there back leg raised looking down to see nothing coming out and then try again. My husband always found this particularly amusing. Sort of a man thing, I guess.

So, I put the Hinoki Cypress in a place of honor. By the gate into the back garden. Probably a locational error on my part. However, it looked great shimmering dark green in the sun and already 3 feet tall with ferny chartreuse new growth. First time the dog went by, pssst. Second time and most anytime he wasn’t emptied by having been on a long walk. Sigh. Eventually the Cypress began to turn rust instead of green.

The Hinoki was only rust colored on one side, I had hopes for its survival. Then the voles came. I am not really sure I ever saw one. But, boy Butler could smell them and they were under the $150.00 Cypress. Crap. Maybe on some level voles are offensive to dogs; perhaps the male voles are marking?? At this point digging under the Cypress became necessary and the top of the plant began to turn rust


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