Shippo will be turning 8 months old next week and his hormones are finally kicking in. I have not neutered him because I was planning on showing him which I haven't started yet because I was waiting until after I took him to get his eyes checked. Turns out he has iris to iris PPMs which I was confused for awhile about because she marked on his CERF form she did not believe it was inherited but I thought all PPMs were considered genetic in PWCs and would not receive registration. Apparently they do and will be marked "breeder option."
So confusion over, he has started marking but it's funny because he hasn't quite figured out that he should lift his leg yet. He gets right up to a tree and pees on it with all four paws on the ground but I'm sure he'll be lifting soon enough. Still humorous though. He's also testing his wings with some dominant behavior but nothing real serious. He has growled at me a few times if my feet touch him while he's sleeping under the desk which I believe I have now fixed. He got a firm no after I realized he was doing it and spent some time in his crate. He has also growled at my mom for trying to move him off her lap so she can get up, which he still does but I'm not sure what she's doing to correct it. I told her to do what I did with the desk.
Then yesterday he wanted to go outside to potty but I wanted to change out of my pajamas first so I went into Mom's room to change (I am staying with her until I get moved into my house and we share her bedroom, I go to bed when she gets up to go to work at 4:30 in the morning so it works for now) then I went into the bathroom to put my hair up because it's hot outside and Shippo jumped on the bed. I went back in the bedroom and he had peed on the bed so in the crate he went again for 5 minutes though he might not have known why I put him in there that time. I believe he did it because my mom's dog sleeps with her and it smells like him so he peed on it to claim it as his own.
I am no making him sit for more things. Before it was just for his food which I make him sit and wait for otherwise he dives at it and it ends up scattering all over the floor and I think that's it other than for treats. So now I'm making him sit at random, for petting, going through the baby gate then going outside and also coming back in. He doesn't seem thrilled to have to do all that sitting but tough, it's better than me ending up strangling him :)
First off, never use the crate as punishment, especially if you want it to be his safe space. Second, if he is starting to mark you will need to confine him or leash him to you so you can keep a constant eye on him, correct the behavior immediately. Don't let him mark outside either. Male dogs can be trained not to mark EVERY LITTLE THING, so if you remain consistent both indoors and outdoors he should begin to pick up that marking is BAD. I have owned all male dogs (with the exception of 2) and though all have been neutered, NONE of my dogs marks because I have taught them early on that is not an ok behavior. Lately I"m a little more lax with Franklin and he is starting to mark outside a lot more but I trust him 110% not to mark inddors. You can buy those pad things they sell for male dogs too if you want to go that route while he is indoors to make sure he isn't peeing on stuff. And also doing as you have been and working on his obedience and re-inforcing that you are boss not him. Good luck! :-)
Jack has done all those things except pee on the bed, and he was neutered at six months.
Male dogs (and many females) will mark, neutered or not. Personally I let mine mark for awhile on the first part of a walk. If I'm walking briskly I expect them to keep up, otherwise I let them do it. Remember, over-marking is a very important part of a dog's social life. It's one way dogs communicate with each other. They know each other by their scent. You can be strict and never allow it, but I personally don't think the problems with marking outside are severe enough to take the joy of it away from a dog. I like watching Jack thoughtfully sniff a spot to see what message it conveys and then add his own two cents to the "pee-mail" spot.
As far as growling when you move him: think of how you would feel if you were sleeping and someone tried to move you. Can it be dominance? Yes, but it does not have to be. Some dogs are just more grumpy than others about being disturbed when comfortable. Personally I have taken a desensitization approach with my own grumbler (Jack). Some dogs respond well to being corrected for growling, but others don't realize that you are correcting them for the feeling behind the growl and think the correction is for the growl itself. Problem is, if you stop the growl without addressing the underlying frustration/discomfort/dominance whatever, you may end up with a dog who moves right from feeling cranky to biting, with no warning in between. So again, rather than say "Don't growl!" I prefer to have the dog gradually decide that being asked to move is an ok thing. If the dog is on my lap, he knows that if he grumps he gets put on the floor. But if he's lying in his own space and I move into it, I want him to learn to be comfortable with that.
I have to agree that crating as punishment is not okay. The crate is for positive ONLY, or maybe a place to put him if you are so mad at him that you need to put him away so that YOU can calm down. Also, if you didn't catch him in the act, it's pretty pointless to punish at all. My Shippo was leashed to me in the house 100% for the first 6 months of his life, so he was unable to sneak off and have accidents. Shippo started lifting his leg (outside) when he was only 4 months old. He tried marking in the house ONE TIME, but he was right next to me leashed, and I was able to correct him and never tried it again. And any time after 6 months, if he did get in trouble, we took a step back in the house training, and he was leashed to me again for a while. He wasn't neutered till he was 9 months old.
If he growls at your mother while he's in her lap, then she needs to immediately put him on the floor. He should learn that if he growls at her/guards her lap or tries to be bossy, it will always result in him being grounded from the lap. Keep his leash on him, and when he growls, interrupt him with an "ah ah!" or something similar and use the leash to gently, but swiftly remove him from the lap.
Teach him that your feet touching him is a good thing. Make a point to gently touch him with your feet and give him praise and maybe a food reward when he doesn't growl.