We can all agree dogs are the best. But nothing is more frustrating that a dog that marks or pees in the house. To help with that, we have have 11 tips to help stop dog marking in the house.
However charming your furry mutt is, there is no denying that dogs are territorial animals that can lead to behaviors not compatible with home life. They like protecting their belongings, their family, and their territory.
Before we get to how to stop marking, let’s take a closer look at what marking is and the behavior behind it.
Understanding Dog Marking
Marking is a dog’s way of communicating with other dogs his territory ownership and sexual availability. Dogs are not vindictive or spiteful creatures, so urine marking is never a sign that they are trying to “get back at you” for scolding them or something. Instead, urine marking is usually brought on by something that they see as a threat to their territory.
In the wild, the wolf of the highest ranking in a pack marks territory in order to signal other pack of wolves to stay away and that he is in charge of the area. Since the pack’s social hierarchy is clearly defined, members with lower rankings understand that it is not their job to mark territories.
However, when dogs live with a human family, their position in the pack is less clearly defined. As a result, they assume to be the pack leader and take charge in marking territories.
Other than establishing dominance and claiming that he is the pack leader, here are some other reasons for your dog marking:
They sense unfamiliar objects in the house
Buying new carpeting or furniture as well as smelling a guest’s jacket or clothes can trigger your dog to mark all over the place— especially if he smells the scent of another animal in them.
Not being neutered or spayed
This occurs much more often in male dogs. However, some females also mark their territories, especially if they are “unaltered”. Even neutered or spayed dogs will sometimes mark in response to an intact animal in their house.
Contact with unfamiliar animals
Walking out at the dog park and encountering other dogs on their walk, introduced to a new pet in the house or just seeing other animals through the window can cause your dog to mark their own territory.
New people in the house
A baby, significant other or a new roommate can trigger urine marking. Adding his scent on things is a dog’s way of saying to new people that the house is his.
In some cases, new people or objects like luggage or furniture, or a conflict with other people and animals can cause your dog to have anxiety problems and starts urine marking.
Urinary Tract Infection
UTI or Urinary Tract Infection can cause a dog to release a small amount of urine frequently. One symptom is the excessive licking of their genitalia.
Miscellaneous medical causes
Other medical causes of house marking are diseases that cause frequent urination, incontinence because of abnormalities of the genitalia and certain medications that cause frequent urination.
Lack of house training
If a dog has lived in a kennel or outside the house or has always marked your house, then it is likely that he has never been house trained. Dogs that are never house trained don’t care about house rules and mark anywhere they want.
11 Tips on How to Stop Your Dog from Marking
Marking behavior is a learned behavior and once it starts, stopping it can be very difficult. So, it is much better to prevent your canine friend from marking in the first place, instead of correcting the behavior once it started.
Here are 11 steps on how to stop your furry friend from marking and have a stink-free house:
- Neuter or spay your dog. This can help eliminate or reduce urine marking in most dogs. When a dog has been neutered or spayed, about 50% to 60% of dogs stop their urine marking or have at least
- Clean areas and objects that have been marked using an enzymatic cleaner which removes pet odors and stains. This helps remove your dog’s scent and prevent him to remark the area or object.
- Limit your dog’s view to the outside where he might see other animals passing by. This shall prevent him from seeing any threat in his territory and stop urine marking.
- Keep your canine friend away from areas and objects where he has marked before. Smelling his scent will cause him to remark the area thinking “Oh yeah, that’s mine, wait gonna make it more appealing.”
- In order to reduce your dog’s marking behavior, you need to establish a clear hierarchy and that you are the leader of the pack. You can do this by allowing him to sleep on the bed with you which can sometimes create a status confusion. You can also teach him basic commands and have him obey you. Once your dog understands that he is not the Alpha, he will feel less need to mark.
- If your dog’s marking behavior is caused by anxiety or health-related problems, talk to his veterinarian about ways to treat it.
- Place treats in places where your dog tends to leave his mark. This can help your dog regard that such areas and items are sources of food rather than triggers for his urine marking.
- If your dog’s marking is in response to a new individual in the house, have those individual make friends with him by playing and feeding your dog. In case you have a new baby, give your dog lots of toys, treats, and attention while the baby is around.
- Try using a synthetic hormone diffuser (Dog appeasement pheromones or DAP). Synthetic hormone diffuser can have a calming effect on your dog and helps reduces the urge to mark.
- Closely supervise your dog in order to get him to stop. Catching him “in the act” can discourage him from continuing his marking behavior.
- Never punish your dog for marking. He will not get the point and could lead to fear or confusion. So instead, you need to focus the relationship between your dog and yourself and establish that you are the Alpha of the house.
Just like how humans own some items with their initials on it or have their family name on doors and mailbox, dogs also have their own way of showing the world that some areas and items are theirs. Their way of claiming territories and belongings can be a little frustrating at times; however, with proper guidance and training, the annoying marking behavior can be reduced or eliminated.