How to Reduce Dog Marking
Many owners confuse dog marking with peeing or accidents, when really it’s neither of these. Marking is not your dog relieving itself – it is leaving small amounts of urine on items such as trees and bushes outside, but couches and beds inside, to leave their “calling card” and to take ownership of this, saying “this is mine.” It’s natural behaviour for dogs and comes as part of their ancestry of taking territories, but this behaviour is very annoying to humans.
This often starts happening in adolescence as dogs start to mature and seek dominance over other animals. Urine marking can occur in both male and female dogs of any age, although it is seen as a problem most commonly in male dogs. Urine marking is different from having accidents in the house. Typically, when a dog is marking it is a small amount of urine in several places. These places may be random, or they could be in a favourite spot or represent a territory boundary, claiming all inside this wall of pee. Dogs can mark for many reasons; the two most common are to show ownership on what they consider their territory and anxiety. Below are some steps you can take to help get a handle on marking.
Related Article: Common Behaviour Issues In Dogs
First, if this is a new behaviour then start with a Health Check:
First, it is recommended that you bring your dog to your veterinarian to make sure there is nothing medically wrong. Urinary tract infections and other medical conditions can mimic urine marking.
Spaying and Neutering
If your dog is not spayed or neutered yet and you are not considering breeding or showing in conformation, this is something to consider. Altering pets that are marking helps to eliminate the issue in 50 to 60 percent of dogs as well as cures and limits a wide range of other unwanted behaviours and even some diseases.
Dogs like to place their territorial stamp on new items, especially if they come from a place where there might have been another dog. Try to remember to place new items off the floor and out of reach of your dog.
You may want to investigate the outside of your home. Sometimes there may be other dogs in the area that come near your house and cause your dog to feel the need to mark in the home.
To prevent your dog from marking in the house make sure that they are not left unsupervised. If you are unable to watch your dog, then they should be placed in a crate so they cannot mark. If you do catch them in the act of marking, you should make a loud noise to startle them and then take them outside and reward the correct behaviour. If you do not catch your dog in the act and find the accident later, then it is extremely important that you do not punish your dog. Your dog can’t connect what he marked an hour ago to your punishment so it does not deter the marking and can make your dog afraid and confused.
You can also take measures to help deter or block your dog from the area where they are drawn to marking. Try using baby gates to block certain rooms or double sided tape to keep them from certain parts of the room.
If your dog does mark in the house, make sure you are using an appropriate cleaner to take the scent out. Even though you might not be able to smell it they may be able to and this will continue to draw them to that area. We recommend an enzymatic pet cleaner that you can find at your local pet store.
For both male and female dogs you can find either belly bands (males) or diapers (females). Remember that this is not a fix for the situation but more of a band aid. If you choose to use one of these items to restrict incidents then it’s also important to be training the behaviour out of them too. Make sure you check them frequently for wetness.
With time, perhaps surgical intervention and some training, you’ll be able to stop your dog from marking everywhere and everything they go and interact with. Thanks for reading our guide!
Thanks for reading! Here are some other articles from our dog section that you may find useful!